Last Pen Standing is a delightful new cozy series by Vivian Conroy with an unexpected wild west twist. Reading the novel is like sitting down with your favorite unsolved puzzle – as fascinating to experience as it is to solve. Despite a slow start, once the Paper Posse is introduced, the pace picks up, and the excitement begins.
What I Liked:
The classic catch-the-murderer trap utilized. Delta and Jonah create a simple trap to catch the murderer, and though the killer realizes it is a gotcha moment, it is still is a lot of fun. I haven’t seen that technique used in a while, and I realize how much I enjoy that particular plot device.
I really connected to the character of Jonah (and his dog Spud), as well as the Paper Posse. One provides professionalism to the story while the other provides laugh out loud humor. Both elements are beneficial to keep the story entertaining.
Wild West references and the overall setting result in a unique tone to the story. Both fun and yet serious at the same time, the play on nicknames and the store being an old jailhouse is simply delightful and unique.
What I Wish:
The first 25-30% of the novel captured my attention more. I almost did not read further, but after looking at other reviews, I felt it must get much better. I am so glad I forged on because it really is a great mystery and enjoyable read.
The sheriff was more redeemable instead of completely and unequivocally odious. I disliked him so much that I was hoping he would get murdered. I don’t think that he really adds to the story at all even though he probably should.
There had been something in Delta’s character that made her stand out more. Delta Douglas is, so far, very vanilla. I just wanted something more from her – even a quirk or bad habit would have created more interest. Perhaps, as the series progresses, we will see some of her unique traits.
To Read or Not to Read
Even though the novel has a slow beginning, it picks up and becomes a fun read that shouldn’t be missed. I can’t wait to see more of Delta Douglas, Jonah, and Spud in the future.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.