Summary- Jaine Austen is hired to teach a memoir seminar to passengers on a luxury cruise. The classes are naturally a disaster. To top that all off her cat is a stowaway and the list of people she has to bribe to keep her hidden keeps growing. Add the murder of another cruise line employee and Jaine’s holiday is anything but restless.
I have read over half the books in this series (though I admit I read them out of order) and in many ways this book ranks near the top as one of the best in the series.
If you have never read a Jaine Austen mystery before let me describe it as humorous stories about a woman who in many ways is an “every woman”. She knows she is overweight but she struggles with food addiction. She is divorced and finding Prince Charmings are few and far between. To top it all off she has funny and a bit wacky best friends and parents. Jaine Austen mysteries are always entertaining if nothing else and I haven’t yet read one I really disliked.
The series reminds me stylistically of chick lit although food replaces fashion as a hot topic and instead of details about designer dresses you will be introduced to descriptions of food that may just make you gain a pound or two.
Killer Cruise was an especially fun book for several reasons.
Jane’s cat Prozac plays a large role in the story. I love Prozac and the more time she gets center stage the better. In some mystery series the cat is either too mean or too sweet but Prozac is just the right blend of Angel and Demon. She is a cat who seems to care more about food than Jaine but at the same time rarely fails to sleep comfortingly on Jaine’s chest.
Lance, Jaine’s best friend who also happens to be gay gets time in this book to interact with Jaine’s parents. Usually, the reader is only exposed to her parents through the emails they send so it is interesting to get to see them on Jaine’s turf as they house sit. Lance tried to be friendly but ends up in a hilarious misunderstanding that brings out some of his better traits. Lance, like Prozac, is a complex character. On one hand he really does care about Jaine even if the ways he shows it are often misguided. On the other hand he has a tendency to be self centered and also to have very limited world views (at least on topics such as appropriate attire). In some books Lance is more annoying than useful but in this book I really enjoyed him even though most of the readers interactions with him are via email because Jaine is at sea.
Jaine attracts horrible guys much like sugar attracts ants. In most of the books the guys she dates are so terrible that they are almost unreal. In Killer Cruise her love interest for the book is a fairly normal guy and it was a nice break from the crazy jerks she usually dates. On that note, the book after this one is one of my least favorites due to a different romantic situation and I was really saddened that Levine could write such a good romantic companion for Jaine in this book and then her worst and most off the wall in the next book.
The final reason that this is one of the best in the series is the mystery itself. Jaine Austen mysteries are hit or miss with more misses (in my opinion) than hits. Some books have twists that don’t work well or annoying fake out endings where she is sure killer is A but then B tries to kill her and she realizes that B is really the killer. It can get a bit much. This book actually had a pretty well plotted out mystery with adequate clues along the way for me to be surprised at the killer but also to think it absolutely made sense and I was happy with it. This is one of a very few of the books so far where I really enjoyed the mystery as well as the writing.
The series is worth reading for the amazing and humorous writing but this book, in my opinion, really stands out as one of the best in the series.