Friday 19 June 2020



A man in hiding.

A gang of outlaws searching for retribution.

This is no time for cupcakes.

Today is Brody Steele’s first day as the new owner of The Red Herring, Pleasant Valley, Maine’s only mystery bookstore. The cute shop has a loyal customer base as well as an ornery cat.

Unfortunately, Brody doesn’t know the first thing about running a legitimate business, he doesn’t want to be in the small town, and he hates cats. On top of all that, he hasn’t read a book since high school.

When a cute woman walks into the store, he thinks his bad luck is about to change. But as she starts asking about the previous owner’s whereabouts, his safe new existence begins to unravel.

For Brody Steele is a man with a secret he must protect at all costs. The U.S. Government has invested a lot to keep it hidden, and his enemies will stop at nothing to expose him.

Does happiness or death await Brody in this charming seaside community?

If you like stories with a solid male lead, wonderfully odd characters, and a troublesome cat, then this book is for you.

The first of three in Colin Conway's new cozy series and one I really enjoyed.

A back drop of a bookshop and witness protection, only Brody's new life as a bookseller is compromised before it's begun. Played by his handler, there's a lot more going on in the small town than problems with an unruly cat, causing mayhem with his book shelves.

I liked the main character, Brody. In his former life he was a killer in a biker gang, before a threat to his mother, forced him to put blood family, before his biker family. Here he is trying to adjust to his new environment and think and act like a normal guy and lose the mindset of a killer. Not an easy task when a cop with knowledge of his true identity drops around to push a few buttons.

Along the way Brody connects with an attractive local cashier, romance might be in the air, falls foul of a mobster laundering money through an Italian restaurant, gets into a punch up with his heavy, fights off his wife's attentions, counsels his teenage daughter, has his identity shredded by an author and faces questions over the sudden disappearance of the former owner of the bookshop he's just taken over. His old biker chums dropping into town is the last thing he needs.

Busy, humorous, fun, with a decent plot, plenty of action and dialogue, and an interesting cast of characters, with differing motivations and agendas, mostly in opposition to the aims of our main man.

I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from this quirky series. Cozy up to Death is followed by Cozy up to Murder and Cozy up to Blood.

Colin Conway is also the author of 509 Crime series and co-author of the Charlie 316 series with Frank Zafiro.

4.5 from 5

Read - June, 2020
Published - 2020
Page count - 268
Source - review copy from author
Format - Kindle laptop read. 


  1. This is one of those times, Col, when your taste and mine overlap. The bookstore backdrop appealed to me right away, and I like the sound of the plot and characters, too. A lighter novel that isn't too 'frothy,' and that's not easy to achieve.

    1. Margot, I do like it when our reading tastes collide. I hope you enjoy this if and when you get to it.

  2. I also love bookstores. I will have to keep an eye out for this book. The last series I read involving a bookstore was Vicki Delany's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series featuring Gemma Doyle.

    1. Bill, thanks for dropping by and commenting. I hope you cross paths with this one and you enjoy it. I'll check out the Delaney series.