Connie Cobbler: Toy Detective by James DeSalvo
(free download from the Amazon Kindle bookstore)
I read this as part of the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge. Of course, time got away from me and I didn't get this review posted until well after the last posts were due in. I'm counting it for my own COYER totals. Especially since I really needed to start working my way through the free and cheap books I've amassed in my nooks.
Have you read Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse? Connie Cobbler is along those lines. I think of it as sort of junior noir. A little dark, but still not bad for a younger crowd. I'm not sure who the intended audience is here, though. The problem with Chocolate Bunnies is that it was a very grown up book, but the characters are all toys or from storybooks. The cast of characters would certainly appeal more to a younger reader, but the story itself was definitely intended for a more mature audience.
Connie Cobbler was the star of a television show. She's a doll, who, along with the other Pastry Pals, taught children about friendship. The pals broke apart after the show was cancelled, following the assumed death of one of the Pastry Pals, Tiffany Tart. During taping, the bridge they pals were crossing broke and Tiffany fell into the Custard River. Connie tried to hold her and pull her back up but the current was too strong, Tiffany went under the river and was never seen again. The other pals blame Connie. For that matter, despite the fact that she knows there was nothing more she could do, Connie still blames herself.
Now, out of the spotlight, she's working as a private investigator. When she takes a job trying to find out what happened to Brenda Bombshell's dog, Connie finds herself not just the center of one mystery, but right back in the thick of the Tiffany Tart tragedy.
This was a quick read and I think Connie could have held her own in a full size novel. DeSalvo's Connie Cobbler reminded me a little of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone. She's got her own demons to exorcise, but she goes out there and does her job and she forms very interesting relationships with the people she comes in contact with, in her work. You can take a little time and give Connie a try, you have very little to lose. It's not perfect, by a long shot, but I think it could really be something much more.