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February 22, 2020

Death with a Dark Red Rose by Julia Buckley ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


I had enjoyed a previous novel by Julia Buckley so when I saw her new cozy mystery Death with a Dark Red Rose I decided to pick it up. Unfortunately, it didn't really work for me.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.


February 2020; Berkley; 978-0451491930
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); cozy mystery
Death with a Dark Red Rose is the fifth book in the Writer's Apprentice Mystery series. I haven't read the other books in this series, but I don't think it is necessary to have read them as there is plenty of details explaining the various relationships. There's also a number of mentions of previous incidences that should jog the memory of those who have been following the series. I like it when authors do that for their readers. Though the continued references up to nearly the very end got a little old.

There's a lot of talking in the book and very little action. Most of the action takes place off the page and we only hear it second hand as one character relays the information to the other characters.

There are a number of characters, but they seem to serve little purpose and act more like the Scooby gang than real people. I didn't connect with any of them. They seemed shallow in their development so I didn't really feel like I knew them.

But what made the story the most difficult for me to get through was how thin the plot was. The story was very wordy, but like the characters, I felt they were just filler. There was a lot of description and idle chatter that didn't move the plot forward. And you would have thought Sam was at risk of contracting the coronavirus with how Lena acted about his illness. It was hard not to roll my eyes at how many times people felt his forehead for fever.

I read a lot of cozy mysteries so I know what I like and what works for me in a story. Unfortunately, this one didn't have enough of the elements that I enjoy in a cozy mystery. Looking at other reviews at Goodreads, there are those who felt as I did that it was an okay book but there are also several who loved the book, particularly those who read the previous books in the series.

Buy Death with a Dark Red Rose at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour


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