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An aspiring suspense novelist lands in the middle of a real crime, in the first in a captivating new series by the author of the Undercover Dish Mysteries.   Lena London's literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains...   Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla’ An aspiring suspense novelist lands in the middle of a real crime, in the first in a captivating new series by the author of the Undercover Dish Mysteries.   Lena London's literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains...   Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla’s new assistant, she can’t believe her luck. Not only will she help her idol craft an enchanting new mystery, she’ll get to live rent-free in Camilla’s gorgeous Victorian home in the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana.   But Lena’s fortune soon changes for the worse. First, she lands in the center of small town gossip for befriending the local recluse. Then, she stumbles across one thing that a Camilla Graham novel is never without—a dead body, found on her new boss’s lakefront property.   Now Lena must take a page out of one of Camilla’s books to hunt down clues in a real crime that seems to be connected to the novelist’s mysterious estate—before the killer writes them both out of the story for good...


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An aspiring suspense novelist lands in the middle of a real crime, in the first in a captivating new series by the author of the Undercover Dish Mysteries.   Lena London's literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains...   Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla’ An aspiring suspense novelist lands in the middle of a real crime, in the first in a captivating new series by the author of the Undercover Dish Mysteries.   Lena London's literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains...   Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla’s new assistant, she can’t believe her luck. Not only will she help her idol craft an enchanting new mystery, she’ll get to live rent-free in Camilla’s gorgeous Victorian home in the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana.   But Lena’s fortune soon changes for the worse. First, she lands in the center of small town gossip for befriending the local recluse. Then, she stumbles across one thing that a Camilla Graham novel is never without—a dead body, found on her new boss’s lakefront property.   Now Lena must take a page out of one of Camilla’s books to hunt down clues in a real crime that seems to be connected to the novelist’s mysterious estate—before the killer writes them both out of the story for good...

30 review for A Dark and Stormy Murder

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    A Dark and Stormy Murder ( A Writer's Apprentice Mystery #1) by Julia Buckley is a 2016 Berkley publication. This first book in the series sets the tone for future installments with a solid base, interesting characters, and an ongoing investigation that will bleed over into the next release. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and enjoyed living vicariously through Lena. She lives out every reader or aspiring writers dream. No doubt about it, I am definitely on board for the next installment. I ca A Dark and Stormy Murder ( A Writer's Apprentice Mystery #1) by Julia Buckley is a 2016 Berkley publication. This first book in the series sets the tone for future installments with a solid base, interesting characters, and an ongoing investigation that will bleed over into the next release. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and enjoyed living vicariously through Lena. She lives out every reader or aspiring writers dream. No doubt about it, I am definitely on board for the next installment. I can see this series becoming one of my favorites, if things continue on at this pace. Overall, this is an excellent beginning for this new series. This book will appeal to a wide range of mystery lovers, but especially to those who enjoy clean reads and cozy mysteries. 4 stars This review is the copyrighted property of Night Owl Reviews To read the full review, click on this link: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Re...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    This is one fun and entertaining read. It is a traditional murder mystery with gothic atmosphere, and just a pinch of romance. Readers compare it to Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Phyllis Whitney. I love those authors, and I could not put this one down. It is the first in a series and should be read in order. This murder mystery is solved by the ending, but there is second mystery that began here and it is the set up for book two, which I immediately had to get my hands on. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I just finished A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley Saturday night, not only did I not want to put it down, I did not want it to end. This was one of the best books I have ever read. When I put the book on my table Saturday morning I had no idea what I was in for! The cover art perfectly captures the feel of the book and I so love it when that happens! The title is also a perfect fit, if ever there was a book that called to me based on sight alone it was this one. The double mysteries, set I just finished A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley Saturday night, not only did I not want to put it down, I did not want it to end. This was one of the best books I have ever read. When I put the book on my table Saturday morning I had no idea what I was in for! The cover art perfectly captures the feel of the book and I so love it when that happens! The title is also a perfect fit, if ever there was a book that called to me based on sight alone it was this one. The double mysteries, setting, characters and working relationship between the characters is truly special and envelopes you from page one!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    First in a series. I had high hopes for this book, looking at all the 5 star reviews (though frankly there are some reviewers out there who seem to give everything 5 stars...), so I am kind of disappointed. What I liked: The main characters. I like Lena and Camilla. They clicked for me. What I didn't like: We were threatened with a love triangle. What I did like: It was resolved at the end of the book, rather than left to drag on, and on, and on... What I didn't like: This was a big one. Enough that First in a series. I had high hopes for this book, looking at all the 5 star reviews (though frankly there are some reviewers out there who seem to give everything 5 stars...), so I am kind of disappointed. What I liked: The main characters. I like Lena and Camilla. They clicked for me. What I didn't like: We were threatened with a love triangle. What I did like: It was resolved at the end of the book, rather than left to drag on, and on, and on... What I didn't like: This was a big one. Enough that I bumped the rating to a 2 star. The mystery within the mystery was interesting, but the ending pissed me off. Mystery partly solved, but now it's a bigger mystery and it might as well have, "To Be Continued" at the end of the book. I'm sorry, but I find "cliff-hanger" endings to be a cheap money grab. Worried your series might not continue? Need to insure that the reader picks up the next book? Leave the ending open! The reader won't mind waiting nearly a year to find out what happens next, right? Yes, yes, I will mind. A lot. Previous series that have done this have lost me for good, (I'm looking at you, Debbie Macomber!) doing exactly this. This series has now been relegated to my library list. I will pick up the next book, and give it a chance, but I'm not paying for it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diana | Book of Secrets

    It was a dark and stormy night... Aspiring author Lena London lands her dream job as assistant to her most favorite writer, Camilla Graham. Lena never dreamed that she'd be pulled into a real murder mystery, but that's exactly what happens when she spots a dead body not far from Camilla's Victorian home. I enjoy books about books, and this one in particular was a delight because it was all about classic Gothic romantic suspense, and the main character getting to live inside one. Lena went full on It was a dark and stormy night... Aspiring author Lena London lands her dream job as assistant to her most favorite writer, Camilla Graham. Lena never dreamed that she'd be pulled into a real murder mystery, but that's exactly what happens when she spots a dead body not far from Camilla's Victorian home. I enjoy books about books, and this one in particular was a delight because it was all about classic Gothic romantic suspense, and the main character getting to live inside one. Lena went full on fangirl around Camilla, which I could totally relate to. Readers are presented with two mysteries in this book, first, the dead body Lena finds, and also, a mystery involving Camilla's brooding and handsome neighbor, Sam West. Sam's wife has been missing for a year. What happened to her? Was Sam somehow involved? Public opinion says yes, though Lena feels otherwise. I thought it was a bit strange that Lena had a fierce insta-loyalty toward Sam, to the point where she embarrasses herself in front of the police. *shrugs* This was a fun read, a bit different than a typical cozy in that it leaves part of the mystery open-ended. I'm looking forward to continuing with the next book. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Any dedicated reader who has a favorite or several favorite authors could easily see herself, or himself, in the lead character's shoes. That dream of one day meeting your very favorite author and, not only spending considerably time in their presence, but to be asked to live in their home and read, edit, consult on and/or make suggestions on their yet to be published book. To actually be able to become dear friends and valued for your opinions and contributions to their book was fun to imagine. Any dedicated reader who has a favorite or several favorite authors could easily see herself, or himself, in the lead character's shoes. That dream of one day meeting your very favorite author and, not only spending considerably time in their presence, but to be asked to live in their home and read, edit, consult on and/or make suggestions on their yet to be published book. To actually be able to become dear friends and valued for your opinions and contributions to their book was fun to imagine. Reading this book with that premise and it is easy for that dedicated reader to put themselves in our main character's place feeling the same awe, gratitude and the "living the dream" feeling. That was enjoyable to experience. The murders and mysteries that pop up, along with the delightful small town characters that populate the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana, make this a very enjoyable, satisfying read. And, another new author for me! Can't ask for more than that! Onto the next book in this entertaining cozy murder mystery series. ;)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book started well. I was really enjoying it, but somewhere along the way I started to question the protagonist's sanity. I was convinced that the explanation for her unhinged and abrupt behavior would be that the book was a novel within a novel. I thought, this must be the novel she's writing and all will be revealed in the book's final pages. What else could explain everything that happened in the span of a few short days? What else could explain a plot so unbelievable that it literally le This book started well. I was really enjoying it, but somewhere along the way I started to question the protagonist's sanity. I was convinced that the explanation for her unhinged and abrupt behavior would be that the book was a novel within a novel. I thought, this must be the novel she's writing and all will be revealed in the book's final pages. What else could explain everything that happened in the span of a few short days? What else could explain a plot so unbelievable that it literally left me with a furrowed brow? Alas, it was not to be. All the final pages revealed was another mystery. I applaud the author for not pushing forward with the hint of a love triangle, but I question true love after three conversations, waffles, and a suspected murderer confessing that they followed you. Oh, I forgot - his innocence was in his eyes. This was The ultimate Mary Sue wish fulfillment fantasy with a side of Gone Girl and I'm left wondering what could have been. Lena held so much promise until she went insane, but on the bright side she's super pretty. We know she's super pretty because just about every minor character let us know. Doug and Sam were mere caricatures, but there was room for so much more. It felt like time was wasted. There was too much space dedicated to the protagonist's crazy obsession, and make no mistake it was both crazy and an obsession, and too little time fleshing out Allison and Rhonda, and the mystery, and really anything or anyone. This entire novel was a study in too much and too little all at the same time. I was drawn in by the idea of working for the novelist that had such a profound part in your coming-of-age. It would be like me working for Judy Blume or Richard Peck. I would be giddy to the point of stupid. However, somewhere early on this first in a series became something very different and I just didn't like it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    Aspiring novelist Lena London has been given the change of a lifetime, helping her idol, best-selling author Camilla Graham, polish up her newest novel. But Lena has hardly arrived in town when she finds the dead body of a young man near Camilla’s house. What is going on? There is a strong element of wish fulfillment in this novel, and I must admit I enjoyed that real life fantasy. Camilla writes gothic novels, and there are elements of those here as an homage to the genre. Even though I’m not fa Aspiring novelist Lena London has been given the change of a lifetime, helping her idol, best-selling author Camilla Graham, polish up her newest novel. But Lena has hardly arrived in town when she finds the dead body of a young man near Camilla’s house. What is going on? There is a strong element of wish fulfillment in this novel, and I must admit I enjoyed that real life fantasy. Camilla writes gothic novels, and there are elements of those here as an homage to the genre. Even though I’m not familiar with that genre, I still spotted a few; I probably missed others, but it wasn’t that big a deal to me. The characters are fun and the plot was strong. I did have some issues with the pacing at the end, but overall, I enjoyed this. It certainly left me anxious for the next one. NOTE: I received a copy of this book in hopes I would review it. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Ks Book Reviews

    There are many things I can say about this first book in the new series by author Julia Buckley. The first thing that comes to mind? That would be . . . WOW! A DARK AND STORMY MURDER is a brilliant mix of the feel of Agatha Christie, Caroline Keene, and also a little bit Hitchcocky, but wonderfully balanced by Julia Buckley. This extraordinary story is cozy in all senses of the word, but with a certain something that makes it stand apart. From the third page I had already clicked with protagonist There are many things I can say about this first book in the new series by author Julia Buckley. The first thing that comes to mind? That would be . . . WOW! A DARK AND STORMY MURDER is a brilliant mix of the feel of Agatha Christie, Caroline Keene, and also a little bit Hitchcocky, but wonderfully balanced by Julia Buckley. This extraordinary story is cozy in all senses of the word, but with a certain something that makes it stand apart. From the third page I had already clicked with protagonist Lena London, and her friend Allison. By the end of chapter two, I was fascinated with Lena’s writing hero, Camilla Graham. As I kept reading, I couldn’t wait to see who I was going to meet next! Ms. Buckley has penned an amazing story of classic mystery, suspense, and intrigue. Her writing is so on point, I could smell the rain hanging in the dark clouds. Every description pulled me further in, leading me through more than one mystery, and holding my in its grip until the wonderful conclusion. With the way this book ended, the next installment promises to be just as amazing! Check out the back of the book for an excerpt from, THE BIG CHILI, book one in Julia Buckley’s Under Cover Dish Mysteries.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ita

    This didn't work for me. 1. The heroine has met a suspected murderer four times and the first time he was an obnoxious ass. Now she believes he's innocent because he's so sincere and honest, because no one can *act* sincere, right? Then a Cop does this suspect a favor and heroine goes nuts and throws pecans at the REALLY NICE COP. Really? 2. They find a picture of someone smiling. They cover up everything but the eyes. The eyes show FEAR. Really? If you took a picture of my eyes right now, could y This didn't work for me. 1. The heroine has met a suspected murderer four times and the first time he was an obnoxious ass. Now she believes he's innocent because he's so sincere and honest, because no one can *act* sincere, right? Then a Cop does this suspect a favor and heroine goes nuts and throws pecans at the REALLY NICE COP. Really? 2. They find a picture of someone smiling. They cover up everything but the eyes. The eyes show FEAR. Really? If you took a picture of my eyes right now, could you see that I'm thinking REALLY??? 3. An old lady sets a trap for a suspected murderer. Her plan is that if he falls into the trap, she will call the cops. Let me repeat: she's old and an amateur. She's dealing with a possible MURDERER. Needless to say, things don't go as planned. Really? There's a to-be-continued ending, but I can see that it's going to be filled with more "really?'s" so I'm done with this author. I see others liked it a lot, but my suspension of disbelief threshold must be a lot higher than most people.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chatting About

    Aspiring writer, Lena London, receives the job offer of a lifetime--bestselling author, Camilla Graham, Lena's idol, is looking for a ghost writer to help her plot her newest manuscript. Lena and her cat, Lestrade, travel to beautiful Blue Lake, Indiana and move into Camilla's home. Les becomes quick friends with Camilla's two German Sheperds, Rochester and Heathcliff. Lena and Camilla immediately bond--two great minds think much alike and compliment one another making a great team. This clever, Aspiring writer, Lena London, receives the job offer of a lifetime--bestselling author, Camilla Graham, Lena's idol, is looking for a ghost writer to help her plot her newest manuscript. Lena and her cat, Lestrade, travel to beautiful Blue Lake, Indiana and move into Camilla's home. Les becomes quick friends with Camilla's two German Sheperds, Rochester and Heathcliff. Lena and Camilla immediately bond--two great minds think much alike and compliment one another making a great team. This clever, fresh plot involves a mystery within a mystery. As Lena settles in and ventures out to meet townsfolk, she's told Graham House has a secret. Which it does. Several, actually. Readers will be on the edge of their seats as clues unravel and reveal what's happening behind the scenes. Secondly, Camilla's mysterious neighbor, Sam West, has a missing wife and no idea whether she's dead or alive. As Sam and Lena realize they enjoy each other's company, Lena takes steps to find out the details of Victoria West's sudden disappearance a year ago. The story ends in a cliffhanger as Camilla and Lena decide to put their heads together to solve the mystery of the missing wife. I eagerly anticipate book two of the Writer's Apprentice Mystery series!

  12. 4 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    As a vacation book, i.e. fast and not too demanding, A Dark and Stormy Murder is pretty good. I liked the clear cut story of an aspiring writer who got the chance to work with her idol. I loked the setting of a small town. I liked the red herrings the author subtly used. I think the character of her idol Camilla is too perfect, a sort of what you'd like to think about authors, but is rarely the case, but I still liked them together. I didn't like a couple of tstl moments, but I understand that a As a vacation book, i.e. fast and not too demanding, A Dark and Stormy Murder is pretty good. I liked the clear cut story of an aspiring writer who got the chance to work with her idol. I loked the setting of a small town. I liked the red herrings the author subtly used. I think the character of her idol Camilla is too perfect, a sort of what you'd like to think about authors, but is rarely the case, but I still liked them together. I didn't like a couple of tstl moments, but I understand that at least one or two of those moved something forward. I wasn't a fan of her putting everyone in one basket or another. After meeting a couple of people in the town she concludes 'men rude, women nice'. Ridiculous. All that aside, what I didn't like was the triangle the heroine found herself in. You see, there are two men and she ends up with the one I wouldn't pick. That story left an opening for a cliffhanger of sorts. The main story in this book murder mystery) is solved, but other things are left for another book. Overall, I liked this story and I'll check the next one too.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    A very meaty cozy mystery! What I mean by meaty is the characters and plots, and even the subplots are very good. You can certainly get your teeth into them. Lena London goes to work with her all-time favorite author, Camilla Graham, who writes gothic thrillers a la Phyllis A. Whitney. Of course, strange things happen in little Blue Lake as soon as Lena gets there. Lena also meets two single men who are interested in her as soon as she arrives. There's also 2 dogs and a cat and a house with secre A very meaty cozy mystery! What I mean by meaty is the characters and plots, and even the subplots are very good. You can certainly get your teeth into them. Lena London goes to work with her all-time favorite author, Camilla Graham, who writes gothic thrillers a la Phyllis A. Whitney. Of course, strange things happen in little Blue Lake as soon as Lena gets there. Lena also meets two single men who are interested in her as soon as she arrives. There's also 2 dogs and a cat and a house with secret passages. What's not to love?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Berkley and Netgalley. This title will be released on July 5. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.* If A Dark and Stormy Murder is any indication, you'd better get ready because Julia Buckley is soon going to be a common name in the cozy mystery world. I loved this book so much, I absolutely couldn't put it down and I was honestly disappointed that it ended so soon. Lena was an absolute joy t *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Berkley and Netgalley. This title will be released on July 5. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.* If A Dark and Stormy Murder is any indication, you'd better get ready because Julia Buckley is soon going to be a common name in the cozy mystery world. I loved this book so much, I absolutely couldn't put it down and I was honestly disappointed that it ended so soon. Lena was an absolute joy to read about. She was smart, kind, and had just the right amount of snarkiness to make her funny at times. Camilla, though, was my favorite character. Even at the end of the book there's some holes in her life that I'd like filled, but I believe we'll see them filled in the next book. There's a slight love triangle happening (which is the only downpoint of the entire book) but by the end it seems to be wrapped up. Both of the love interests were equally wonderful in my opinion, so I hope the story continues on the same track to dissipate the love triangle but keep both love interests. The setting was beautiful and different from the cozy norm. Most cozy mysteries take place in the east or in the south, and honestly it can get tiring reading about the same areas. However, I love it when I stumble a book set in the midwest, which is actually where I live. It's a nice change of pace. The mystery was also great. There were actually two mysteries going on at the time and both were well plotted and honestly surprising. I can't wait to see where Ms. Buckley goes with the second book and the second mystery, which was left a little bit of a cliffhanger. Overall an startlingly good first in a series book. After reading this book and The Big Chili I can say that I'll be following Ms. Buckley's work for awhile yet. Highly recommend!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Frazier

    WOW!!! I won an early copy of this book, and what a treat it was. This is one of the best mysteries I have ever read. It grabbed me from page one, and didn't let go. The whole book is absolutely perfect! I loved the characters, the setting, the mystery. I hated to see it end! I hope this is one series that keeps going. This first book is so great, I could, and eventually will, read it again! WOW!!! I won an early copy of this book, and what a treat it was. This is one of the best mysteries I have ever read. It grabbed me from page one, and didn't let go. The whole book is absolutely perfect! I loved the characters, the setting, the mystery. I hated to see it end! I hope this is one series that keeps going. This first book is so great, I could, and eventually will, read it again!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gigi

    An aspiring writer lands her dream job with her literary idol, a reclusive gothic novelist who lives in a sprawling house overlooking the ocean. This gothic cozy mystery series is off to a delightful start.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is as flat and full of holes as the main character's constant waffle breakfasts. The premise was a great idea that failed to deliver. The characters are just awful. Lena London reads like a crisp gothic heroine-meets-teenaged Disney character. She's all over the map, and it's not good. Her speech betrays her real age to be somewhere between age 16 and 96. "oh boy!" "gosh darn it!" This was awful. She notes others' rudenesses and faux pas, but says ridiculous things to strangers herself This book is as flat and full of holes as the main character's constant waffle breakfasts. The premise was a great idea that failed to deliver. The characters are just awful. Lena London reads like a crisp gothic heroine-meets-teenaged Disney character. She's all over the map, and it's not good. Her speech betrays her real age to be somewhere between age 16 and 96. "oh boy!" "gosh darn it!" This was awful. She notes others' rudenesses and faux pas, but says ridiculous things to strangers herself. She even throws a handful of nuts at a cop just because she doesn't like what he has to say during a legitimate investigation. She becomes instant friends with a stranger -- someone who basically remains an obnoxious stranger, who then just disappears from the book. Her best friend reads like someone who is 12 years old and adds no value or depth. The mentor, Camilla, is cliche but tolerable. The goons are typical goons, but everyone in this town wears turtlenecks making it hard to discern where the real (fashion) criminals lurk. The mystery part of it was kind of dumb. At the end, we still don't have any idea who Lena is, or why we'd want to follow her into further adventures. ------- I have to note some details here to illustrate my frustration. Lena wants to jump directly into bed with someone -- out of the blue -- but her actions and words belie a certain kind of naiveté throughout the book that makes this scene hard to believe. (e.g She claims she has no idea what pot smells like, and lectures a stranger on the dangers of smoking.) I can't reconcile what world Lena lives in: you want me to believe she is so daring and forward with her (sudden) sexuality, but still such a prude in everything else? Another example is how she is always shoveling food down her throat. It's so distracting. Anything she gets her hands on, everywhere she goes, she eats! She even remarks (often) with much shame about her gorging. I got carb bloat myself just reading a few chapters. I picture a dowdy busy body with no social skills, and yet all the men in town seem to swoon at her feet. Especially the rich, successful one who is oozing charm experience and taste? And then Norse-God cop too? Bah! Love triangle... And when she does get one, she becomes psycho-clingy: constant texts, face touches, rooting through his garbage, and, of course, that time she sent him a pizza to say she was thinking of him. *eyeroll* The only real relationship she seems to have is with her cat, whom she talks to all the time but does nothing but purr and sleep in return. (Is there a point to that cat sidekick?) For a mystery series, characters' observations are chirpy and often pointless, leading to nothing. Lena's "keen, writer's" instincts seem terrible, misleading. She seems to lack all life experience despite the author's weak attempt to give her a background or some sort of personality... The reader simply can't believe/ trust her as a guide. Disappointment - beginning, middle and end. Cardboard has more flavour. I only read it all because the book was blissfully short. I won't continue this series. So many people loved this book here, and all I can say is ...no. Why?!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Lena London is living her best life in Blue Lake, Indiana: working as an assistant/ghost writer for her idol, best-selling Gothic mystery author Camilla Graham, living in a lakefront mansion with secret rooms, and solving mysteries, all while two handsome men vie for her attention. There's really two story lines in A Dark and Stormy Murder, which ultimately didn't really work for me. The first story line is a fairly typical cozy mystery: Lena discovers a dead body on Camilla Graham's property, and Lena London is living her best life in Blue Lake, Indiana: working as an assistant/ghost writer for her idol, best-selling Gothic mystery author Camilla Graham, living in a lakefront mansion with secret rooms, and solving mysteries, all while two handsome men vie for her attention. There's really two story lines in A Dark and Stormy Murder, which ultimately didn't really work for me. The first story line is a fairly typical cozy mystery: Lena discovers a dead body on Camilla Graham's property, and through a series of accidental late nigh encounters with the perpetrators and coincidences/small town gossip manages to solve the mystery. I found this mystery to be pretty weak. There weren't really any clues for the reader to follow, and the solution is fairly obvious from the beginning, given the cast of characters. The second story line is a pastiche of Gothic mysteries/romantic suspense novels, and I mostly really liked it. In this story line Lena befriends her new neighbor, Sam West, who moved to Blue Lake from New York City to escape his past; namely, the rumors surrounding the unsolved disappearance of his wife Victoria. This story line was good, but is left unresolved in this book, I assume to be continued in the next book in the series. The setting and premise of the book are great; the main characters are pretty good; the cozy mystery is "meh"; the Gothic mystery/elements are spot on; the romance I'm on the fence about. (view spoiler)[I really prefer Doug, who would've been the cozy mystery romantic partner; Sam totally makes sense as the romantic lead for a Gothic novel, but I just didn't really care for him. (hide spoiler)]

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This was a fantastic read! Definitely one of the best cozies I have ever read.. It kept me on the edge of my seat, bed, wherever I was reading--I was enthralled. Mysteries within mysteries and the ending leaves some parts finished while others leaving me waiting for the next installment in the series... If I could give this more than 5 stars, I would!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Two stars for "it was okay." It tried to be a gothic-flavored tale about a secluded writer with a mysterious neighbor. It actually was a predictable story with a friendly writer and a grieving neighbor...the mystery pops up at about 40% and the murderer is easily spotted (I kept thinking they must be a red herring because it was so easy). I did enjoy the Indiana setting and the mentor/friend relationship between the two women. There were some major plot detail fails (for example, the author met an Two stars for "it was okay." It tried to be a gothic-flavored tale about a secluded writer with a mysterious neighbor. It actually was a predictable story with a friendly writer and a grieving neighbor...the mystery pops up at about 40% and the murderer is easily spotted (I kept thinking they must be a red herring because it was so easy). I did enjoy the Indiana setting and the mentor/friend relationship between the two women. There were some major plot detail fails (for example, the author met and married her husband on her book tour for her first novel, but they only had one child two years after marriage, whose life and death was memorialized in her first novel....uh....) which made it hard to believe the backstories. I will consider trying another book from this series. Also I had no clue why a character suddenly went all Amazon on some policemen who were simply doing their job. Content: a few profanities, a couple bad swears, murder

  21. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    This was a great "cozy" -- I really fell under the spell of the wish-fulfillment scenario (I mean, who wouldn't *love* to work with a writer they idolize?!) and was quickly pulled into the murder mystery; you go along for the ride with some relatable, well-rounded characters -- each one feels distinct, and the author is good at casting doubt on multiple suspects until you get to the big reveal. Additional high marks go to Julia Buckley for crafting a delicious plot. This first book in the series This was a great "cozy" -- I really fell under the spell of the wish-fulfillment scenario (I mean, who wouldn't *love* to work with a writer they idolize?!) and was quickly pulled into the murder mystery; you go along for the ride with some relatable, well-rounded characters -- each one feels distinct, and the author is good at casting doubt on multiple suspects until you get to the big reveal. Additional high marks go to Julia Buckley for crafting a delicious plot. This first book in the series is just so well-plotted! The mood, tone, and overall vibe of the book is very much in line with what a cozy mystery is all about, and I'm sure I'll be recommending this one as a prime example of some of the best the genre has to offer.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    I liked this one a lot, too.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    A Dark And Storm Murder is the first book in the A Writer's Apprentice Mystery series. Lena London has just gotten her dream job. Her friend, Allison, called to let her know that Camilla Graham, one of Lena's favorite authors was looking for an assistant. Lena immediately called and a week later is heading for Blue Lake, IN to start a job she had only hoped to have. The day after arriving, Lena decides to take Graham's two German Shepherd for a walk and to take a look at the town of Blue Lake. As A Dark And Storm Murder is the first book in the A Writer's Apprentice Mystery series. Lena London has just gotten her dream job. Her friend, Allison, called to let her know that Camilla Graham, one of Lena's favorite authors was looking for an assistant. Lena immediately called and a week later is heading for Blue Lake, IN to start a job she had only hoped to have. The day after arriving, Lena decides to take Graham's two German Shepherd for a walk and to take a look at the town of Blue Lake. As she begins her walk, she meets Sam West, a neighbor to Graham, who seems very unfriendly and recluse like. She soon learns that he had been accused of murdering his wife, but the police were never able to find her body or enough information to charge him. Most of the residents of Blue Lake have shunned him, but something tells Lena that he is not guilty of anything. Then later the same day, as Lena is looking out the window of her room, she sees what appears to be a body on the beach of Blue Lake. When Camilla and Lena go down to the lake they find the lifeless body of Martin Jonas. Then strange noises begin to be heard in Graham's house, some are even enough to set the dogs on edge. This is enough for two mystery writers to start to investigate where the strange noises are coming from and if they might have anything to do with the body of Jonas. In the meantime, Lena has begun to search the internet for information on Sam West and what might have happened to his estranged wife. Two suspenseful mysteries to solved in this exciting new series. A little more suspense and excitement than most of the cozy type books that I read and it was quite nice to read a more serious story. Not really dark, more like dusk. Buckley provides the readers with interesting and enjoyable characters and I hope that we will learn more about some of the local residents. I feel there is more to learn about Sam West and am looking forward to seeing where his character goes and also with Doug Heller, a detective with the Blue Lake Police. Most definitely will be watching for the next book in this exciting series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    SuperWendy

    I used to love cozy mysteries in my younger days and have gooey nostalgic feelings for the mystery genre as a whole - so I thought I'd try this first book in a series. It's OK. Look, I think I've changed. Cozies occupy this idealistic world view that doesn't exist and it's just not the way I want to spend my escapist reading time these days. Everything is very cutesy (the only thing the town of Blue Lake is missing is a cupcake shop) and the heroine smacks of Pollyanna, especially when leaping t I used to love cozy mysteries in my younger days and have gooey nostalgic feelings for the mystery genre as a whole - so I thought I'd try this first book in a series. It's OK. Look, I think I've changed. Cozies occupy this idealistic world view that doesn't exist and it's just not the way I want to spend my escapist reading time these days. Everything is very cutesy (the only thing the town of Blue Lake is missing is a cupcake shop) and the heroine smacks of Pollyanna, especially when leaping to the defense of the local recluse. But if cozies are your jam, you might like this one. The series premise is really fun, with the author essentially writing an homage to all the great Gothics I read as a teenager. I was very blah about this, but I think that's because I'm just no longer "into" this sub genre. If you are, you may want to check this series out.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    I give up. I know there are a lot of 5 stars for this book but I just don't get it. I found the characters boring and flat from the beginning. Found myself avoiding reading because I wasn't looking forward to this book. Too many other books out there to read to spend so much time reading a book I was not enjoying. Sorry Julia Buckley, moving on. I give up. I know there are a lot of 5 stars for this book but I just don't get it. I found the characters boring and flat from the beginning. Found myself avoiding reading because I wasn't looking forward to this book. Too many other books out there to read to spend so much time reading a book I was not enjoying. Sorry Julia Buckley, moving on.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jane Irish Nelson

    Probably 3.5 stars. This cozy mystery is a nod to the romantic suspense novels and Gothic romances of the past. When Lena London, and aspiring writer lands a job as assistant to Camilla Graham, the author she has always adored, she is ecstatic. And she even gets to live in Camilla's mansion! But almost immediately she stumbles into not one, but two mysteries, involving many of the classic tropes. Fun, quick-paced, with the obligatory touch of romance. Recommended. Probably 3.5 stars. This cozy mystery is a nod to the romantic suspense novels and Gothic romances of the past. When Lena London, and aspiring writer lands a job as assistant to Camilla Graham, the author she has always adored, she is ecstatic. And she even gets to live in Camilla's mansion! But almost immediately she stumbles into not one, but two mysteries, involving many of the classic tropes. Fun, quick-paced, with the obligatory touch of romance. Recommended.

  27. 4 out of 5

    ☺Trish

    A Dark And Stormy Murder is the first book of Julia Buckley's Writer's Apprentice Mystery series and I enjoyed this introduction to the main characters: aspiring writer Lena London and her idol, favorite author, and new boss - Camilla Graham. Other than Lena being a bit of a "Mary Sue" character, I found this book very entertaining. One nit to pick: I have always had a hard time accepting "instant" friendships/relationships and anyone (much less a famous, wealthy author) inviting a stranger to li A Dark And Stormy Murder is the first book of Julia Buckley's Writer's Apprentice Mystery series and I enjoyed this introduction to the main characters: aspiring writer Lena London and her idol, favorite author, and new boss - Camilla Graham. Other than Lena being a bit of a "Mary Sue" character, I found this book very entertaining. One nit to pick: I have always had a hard time accepting "instant" friendships/relationships and anyone (much less a famous, wealthy author) inviting a stranger to live in their home - no way!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tracie

    Who doesn't love two mysteries for the price of one? That's exactly what you get with this story. The body found on the beach definitely felt secondary to the missing wife storyline but they both flowed and commingled together nicely. The ending left you begging for more and had me running to get the next book in this awesome series. I hope Mrs. Buckley keeps this series going for years to come. Who doesn't love two mysteries for the price of one? That's exactly what you get with this story. The body found on the beach definitely felt secondary to the missing wife storyline but they both flowed and commingled together nicely. The ending left you begging for more and had me running to get the next book in this awesome series. I hope Mrs. Buckley keeps this series going for years to come.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Beth McCraw

    4.5 stars! Loved the first book in this new series, and I have the second ready to go!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Ok. Ended very abruptly. Like a cliffhanger.

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