I finished A Death in Door County by Annelise Ryan weeks ago, and I’m still thinking about how much I liked it! Read on for my full review of this super fun mystery.
Morgan Carter, owner of the Odds and Ends bookstore in Door County, Wisconsin, has a hobby. When she’s not tending the store, she’s hunting cryptids—creatures whose existence is rumored, but never proven to be real. It’s a hobby that cost her parents their lives, but one she’ll never give up on.
So when a number of bodies turn up on the shores of Lake Michigan with injuries that look like bites from a giant unknown animal, police chief Jon Flanders turns to Morgan for help. A skeptic at heart, Morgan can’t turn down the opportunity to find proof of an entity whose existence she can’t definitively rule out. She and her beloved rescue dog, Newt, journey to the Death’s Door strait to hunt for a homicidal monster in the lake—but if they’re not careful, they just might be its next victims.
Although I don’t usually pick up mystery on my own, my home state is Wisconsin, so when I saw Door County mentioned in the title of the book, I had to read about it! The description really pulled me in, with the whole maybe there’s a homicidal monster, maybe there’s not thing. I’m a huge fan of the Great Lakes (I vacation on Lake Superior all the time), so imagining hunting Nessie in one of the Great Lakes was really fun and intriguing!
I knew from the get-go that I liked Morgan. She’s such a cool protagonist, with her bookstore full of all sorts of off-the-beaten-trail kinds of things (and books). She’s a strong woman who knows what she wants and what she likes, and she’s not going to take a bunch of crap.
When Jon shows up, I really wasn’t sure what to think of him. He’s just a quiet guy living a seemingly quiet life, and we don’t learn a ton about him. Turns out, that’s kind of key to the story later, so looking back I’m okay with it, but at the time was a little cold on him. I did grow to like him more, though.
The mystery part of this book is what made me like it so much. I loved that there’s a sci-fi element to it a bit, with the “is it a monster or not” bit. I did unfortunately call the mystery not too far into their investigation, but I definitely didn’t get the how or the who exactly, so it was still exciting to read.
There’s also some suspense when Morgan gets caught up a little too far into the mystery, which was also a fun read.
The only thing I wasn’t too sure about was the (very light) romance between Morgan and Jon. The attraction was fine and I liked when they came clean about their traumatic pasts, but I wished somewhat that they just became friends with a hint of maybe something romantic, instead of trying to make it happen within the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed A Death in Door County and I’m hoping for a series, since it’s marked as Monster Hunter Mystery #1 on Goodreads! I’ll definitely be reading any further books by Ryan. 4.5 stars.