Snow Way Out by Christine Husom is the debut cozy in the Snow Globe Shop Mystery Series set in a small Minnesota town (available January 6, 2015).
Like many cozies, Snow Way Out is set in a small town, in this case Brooks Landing, Minnesota, the hometown where Camryn “Cami” Brooks runs Curio Finds after leaving her political job in Washington D.C. amidst a scandal. Her store is housed under the same roof as her best friend Pinky’s Brew Ha-Ha coffee shop. Amongst the other knickknacks she sells are snow globes, so a snow globe making class seems like a perfect way to inspire their customers. This unique crafty touch gives the readers insite into both how to make their own snow globes as well as gets the drama started in the first chapter.
All goes relatively smoothly until Cami, who is more than familiar with her inventory, discovers a snow globe that simply doesn’t belong in her shelf:
When I returned to the retail area, I walked toward the front window to turn the security light on, but a snow globe sitting on a nearby shelf stopped me in my tracks. It was “snowing.” I blinked, knowing I was imagining things, and watched until the last of the flakes had settled on the ground. I had never seen that particular globe before and wondered where it had come from. It was made of similar, or the same type of, materials we had used in our class. How odd. A chill ran up my spine as I reached for the front door to be sure it was locked. It was. I was relieved because I honestly could not remember locking it, no matter how hard I thought about it.
What starts out as simply an oddity takes a morbid turn when the scene depicted in the snow globe of a man sleeping on a park bench comes to pass, except this time he has a knife in his back. When Cami decides to take a shortcut through a beloved park, she chances upon something she’d rather not see:
The cloud moved and the moon’s light came through the trees, shining down on us. “Oh, my God,” I whispered. It was the scene from the new psycho snow globe in my shop. I pinched myself to be sure I was really awake and not in the middle of a nightmare…
I was afraid the man might be drunk and vulnerable to…whatever. I braved a step closer and then another…Instead of lifting his head, he fell forward and toppled onto the ground, landing facedown. I jumped back and then screamed.
The handle of a knife was sticking out of his back.
Cami, despite her mixup in DC, is innocent as to what to do in such a situation, so she touches the knife before calling 911.
Of course, this makes her an immediate suspect, even though the victim has more than his fair share of local enemies. The man with the knife in his back is none other than Jerrell Powers, who’d only recently appeared back in Brooks Landing after going to jail for breaking into Cami’s friend Erin’s house and stealing her antique clocks. He’d also been the subject of heated discussion in the snow-globe making class, when his ex-wife, who led the class, had words with his current girlfriend.
Even with two friendly faces on the police force, Cami’s old friend, Mark, and assistant police chief Clint Lonsbury, who annoys her as much as he intrigues her, Cami knows she can’t rely on them to save her. She wants to clear her name and make sure whoever did the crime is off the streets for good. Her sleuthing finds her spying on the people who took her class, visiting the local jail, tracking down a mysterious man who’s following her and becoming so famous in Brooks Landing that strangers ask her to a party to recount her gruesome discovery. While Cami is very much the newbie when it comes to solving crimes, she shows plenty of gumption in going face-to-face with those who may be out to hurt her, and even when she finds herself in dangerous situations, doesn’t shy away from them.
Snow Way Out kicks off with a bang and weaves together multiple threads to make this a fast-paced, unique series introduction. This wintry mystery has a flurry of romance, a sprinkling of overprotective friends, and plenty of intrigue, drama, and suspicion to keep readers guessing.
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Rachel Kramer Bussel is a freelance and erotica writer, and editor of over 50 anthologies, including The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories; Only You: Erotic Romance for Women; Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission and others. She tweets @raquelita and blogs at Lusty Lady.
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