This was a difficult book for me to embrace. In Microphones and Murder, Erin Huss gives us a pair of sisters determined to make it as investigative podcasters.
Tired of living life on the sidelines, Liv Olsen gave up everything-her job at the #1 podcast series in the country, her apartment, most of her belongings-to launch her own show, Missing or Murdered. Teaming up with her kid stepsister, Camry Lewis, the dynamic duo set out to be the next big thing in true crime.
On the program for season one, the sisters’ focus on the case of twenty-three-year-old Amelia Clark, who vanished ten years ago after an embarrassing video of her went viral. The police found the California native’s car and personal belongings, but the investigation quickly went cold. A decade later, Liv and Camry retrace Amelia’s final steps, unearthing dangerous secrets, lost loves, quirky characters, and a lifetime supply of cinnamon rolls. As funds run low and time runs out, the investigation is complicated by anonymous threats. Threats from someone who doesn’t want Amelia’s story told.
Liv and Camry have a lot riding on their Missing or Murdered podcast. Now it’s more important than financial success. They have to know.
What happened to Amelia Clark?
Stay tuned for episode one: Gone Cold
Microphones and Murder: What happened to Amelia Clark?
The book is set against a backdrop of investigative podcasting. Think Serial or Someone Knows Something. The genre became very popular in the past few years as radio broadcasters learned how to use the podcast medium to tell more complex stories.
When the host of the previous podcast she worked on rejects Liv Olsen’s series idea, Liv quits her job to strike out on her own. Her step-sister Camry comes along as her general tech guru and comic relief.
Amelia Clark disappeared 10 years ago, after someone posted an unflattering viral video of her on YouTube. Liv and Camry are determined to get to the bottom of what happened. Luckily, Camry’s great-aunt Hazel lives in the area and is willing to put them up for the next six months. Unfortunately, the retired policeman who gave them his illegible notes passes away during their first meeting. Hijinks ensue?
I had some trouble getting into this book. There were a few factors that kept me from just relaxing into the mystery.
It takes a while to get going.
More and more authors are being urged to channel their inner creative procrastinator. The rule at this time is to start at the last possible moment before the action starts. This story started a little too early, with a little too much backstory.
My friend Cee will be very happy to hear me say this. She’s invested a couple of years into educating me so I don’t fall into the same pitfalls with my own writing. Look, Cee, it’s working.
There are some uncomfortable tropes
I read romance, and I’ve read plenty of other cozy mysteries. They’re tropey as heck. That’s part of the fun of these stories. Find a trope and see how you can use it or subvert it, right?
There were a couple of tropey scenes that really just fell flat for me. In the one that stands out to me, our main character has a night out at a wine tasting. When her sister tells her the winery would like to sponsor the podcast, she seemingly gets revenge-drunk. To the point where she acts in an embarrassing manner, then wakes up with a hangover and no memory of the night before.
Is there an actual consequence to the scene? Other than entertaining the members of the household, no. It felt contrived to embarrass the main character. The scene didn’t move the story forward in any way; it was just a vignette. There are a couple of other scenes in this vein that, while atmospheric, didn’t really help the story.
Overall, I’m going to give this 3 stars. The core of the story is solid, and the author has a good writing voice. I think it would really shine with another editing pass to tighten things up, and possibly a sensitivity read. I think Huss means well and shows a wonderful range of diversity, but there was just one element that stood out to me as possibly problematic.
The mystery itself was very good, and once I learned to skim the extraneous “side quests”, I enjoyed the spirit of the story. I might even be up for the second in the series when it comes out. I’m curious to find out what the podcast production team tackles next.
A big thank you to Henery Press for allowing to read an advance reader copy of this book!
TL;DR A pair of sisters start their own investigative crime podcast. Cool concept, but needs more editing.
Microphones and Murder by Erin Huss
Published by Henery Press
Genres: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Humour
Source: Edelweiss +
I received this book for free from Edelweiss + in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.