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Shots in the Dark is a top shelf cozy that packs a wallop

Shots in the Dark

by Allyson K. Abbott

Kensington Books

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 26 July 2016


Shots in the Dark is a top shelf experience for readers.

Even a teetotaler wouldn't be able to pass up this fantastic mystery. Allyson Abbott is a great writer, but it is her imaginative framing that makes Shots in the Dark both innovative and captivating. One problem many cozy series face is how to explain the amateur detective's constant access to death. Abbott's solution is twofold. First, Mack is part of the Capone Club, a group of amateurs who take cold cases or closed cases where the culprit is in doubt and attempts to solve them. Second, Mack is being targeted by a letter writing serial killer who pledges to kill Mack's friends if the puzzles posed by the letter go unsolved. The potential for follow ups is immense - I for one am glad because it means many more Mack Dalton mysteries.

Mack is special in her own right. She has synesthesia, a disorder in which she experiences sensation in multiple modalities (for example tasting voices). She uses her talent for discerning differences to help uncover lies and detect things that would otherwise be hidden to a normal observer. Her friends and fellow members of the Capone Club are a diverse crew, but of particular importance are her computer savvy friend Cora, her detective boyfriend Duncan, and her good friend Mal, an undercover cop. Abbott does a terrific job bringing the characters to life, not only enabling the reader to understand Mack but to also to immerse themselves into Mack's sensory world.

In Shots in the Dark, Mack is struggling with the death of a friend, the letter writer's most recent victim. The threat of another murder lays heavy on her shoulders. At the same time, the sister of a man incarcerated for killing his wife approaches the Capone Club in hopes that they will look into the case.

Both plot lines are thoroughly developed and complement each other nicely. Shots in the Dark is a pleasure to read, an exciting and innovative cocktail blend certain to satisfy even the most selective of cozy lover.


I received a copy of Shots in the Dark from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



For Mack and her barfly allies, solving homicides calls for equal parts instinct and wit. To strain out a crafty criminal, the mixture has got to be absolutely perfect . . .

It's a week before Christmas, but Milwaukee bar owner Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton is hardly in good spirits. Chilled to the core by the murder of bouncer Gary Gunderson, Mack is determined to use her extra perceptive senses to identify the gunman responsible. Did Gary's patchy past brew up some fatal trouble, or could his death be linked to a series of cryptic letters concocted by Mack's anonymous adversary? With a second case to crack, innocent lives at stake, and a media frenzy in their midst, Mack and her barstool detectives have little time to mull over the grim details--especially when clues lead dangerously close to home . . .

Includes drink recipes

"The first book in the Mack's Bar Mystery series is a hit!" --RT Book Reviews on Murder on the Rocks

"Murder with a Twist has a lot of sleuthing pleasure packed into its pages." --Fresh Fiction

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