Book Review:  “Bowled Over Americano (Sara and Sean Cozy Mystery Series Book 1)” By Carolyn Arnold

Full disclosure – I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book by the author or their representative but have voluntarily provided a review. All opinions are my own.

Bowled Over Americano is scheduled for an April 11, 2023 release

Murder in the lanes

Sara Cain is a member of the Albany Police department, but she is also an aspiring writer and when she is not off solving crime with her friend and partner Sean, she is working on her first novel. Even with employing the “art imitates life” approach Dead in the Water appears to be living up to its name, that is until a walk in a local park has her discovering a runaway dog. The adorable beagle, leash trailing behind, is familiar to Sara so she attempts to return Magnum home, only to find his owner laying in a pool of blood.  But when the suspect number one turns out to be a close friend of Sara’s mother she is unofficially dragged into the case. Her and Sean go off the record undercover at a local bowling alley in an attempt to determine who really murdered bowling champ Cliff Cunningham. As they get deeper and deeper into their clandestine investigations and the suspect list grows rather than shrinks the duo and their canine sidekick are going to have to employ all their wits if they are going to sniff out the real culprit and prevent an innocent woman from taking the fall.

Bowled Over Americano is the first in the new Sara and Sean Cozy Mystery Series by international bestselling author Carolyn Arnold. While known mainly for her numerous excellent police procedural novels, including the Brandon Fisher FBI series, Detective Amanda Steele series and Detective Madison Knight series, Arnold is also no stranger to the cozy mystery genre. This newest book is part cozy, part police procedural and a whole lot of fun. I love the dynamic between Sara and Sean and I was rooting for them throughout the entire story, not only professionally but also personally. The characters were a bit on the eccentric side, including the duo’s crazy undercover story but for me that made it all the more enjoyable. At times I found myself laughing out loud at their alter egos “Gwen” and “Stephen” and their over the top disguises and characters, but they strangely fit in with the equally eclectic cast of regulars at Capital Lanes. Including a displaced furry friend into the mix also added an additional element of cute and watching Sara attempt to navigate solving a murder with a basset hound in tow definitely worked for some additional comedic elements. 

For long time fans of Arnold may already be acquainted with Sara and Sean via her blog and the series of shorts starring the two that used to be published there. Arnold appears to be taking her older stories, expanding and revamping them into a larger series that she promises will be new even to readers of the originals.  Bowled Over Americano is my first introduction to the duo of Sara and Sean and I am definitely looking forward to the subsequent books in this series. With Arnold already teasing her next release Wedding Bells Brew Murder and likening it to an almost escape room sort of mystery I am definitely all in for whatever Arnold dreams up with this dynamic duo going forward.

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