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Not So Cozy Mysteries, A Genre for Mystery and Spicy Romance Lovers

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Tetons Behind a Barn

I get a lot of questions about my chosen genre, not so cozy mysteries. Hopefully this blog answers any questions you have!

First, What’s a Cozy Mystery?

Cozy mysteries are defined by an amateur sleuth, unlikeable victims, quirky characters, and a cozy, close community setting. Violence and sex occur off page, and the sleuth solving the mystery is the core of the story. Many cozy mysteries feature pets, and all of them have a hook. Main characters are bakers, mail carriers, librarians, shop owners, knitters…anything you can think of! Some of my favorite cozy mystery novels are Barbara Ross’s Maine Clambake Series, Sara Rosett’s Murder on Location Series, and the Scottish Highland Mysteries by Hannah Reed.

Okay, So what’s a Not So Cozy Mystery?

My not so cozy mysteries have everything that regular cozies have, with the added spice of salty language and steamy scenes. They’re cozy mysteries for spicy romance readers, for everyone that’s watched a Hallmark movie and wished the characters acted more like real people – and maybe did more than kiss before they got engaged. But for all I lean into more modern themes, I lean harder into cozy mystery tropes to make up for it. My Jackson Hole Moose’s Bakery Not So Cozy Mystery Series features a small tourist town with some dark issues, a strong independent woman amateur sleuth, unlikeable victims that are often land developers or other trying to tear the community apart, quirky characters, found family, and a super cozy setting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Isn’t That Just Romantic Suspense?

While my series has romantic elements, each book doesn’t have a Happy Ever After or Happy For Now, so they don’t qualify as romance. Additionally, romantic suspense means the story is driven by romance as much as it is by the suspenseful elements. My romances are integral to the sleuth’s life, but they aren’t the main plot line. There will be an HEA within the series arc, though! Psst…are you Team Merritt or Team Jake?

What If I Don’t like spice in my cozy mysteries?

I totally get it! I make sure all of my books are up front about their content in the book descriptions, because I don’t want to surprise any reader.

What other books are Not So Cozies?

As a new genre, not many books identify themselves as not so cozy mysteries. But I’ve always liked to be a groundbreaker. One book that I think qualifies is Finlay Donovan is Killing It—my favorite read of 2021.

Do you have any favorite not so cozy mysteries? Tell me about them in the comments!

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