I'll start by saying I have read every one of the series to this point and have enjoyed most of them very much. Mostly that's because I have grown to really know the main characters and I like to see them grow and change. But starting with book #13, Dark Tort, they seem to have lost something. I had hopes after #15, Fatally Flaky, once again returned to form with a decent mystery plot but now with this 16th entry in the series, I am afraid for the future of the entire series.
So what's wrong with this one? Where should I start? There is just way too much going on here. Too many characters, too many subplots, too many attempts to throw the reader off course. I suppose with a cozy mystery, the reader expects to suspend their disbelief somewhat and just go with it. But Goldy just ignores any and all precautions as she goes about gathering clues to solve the murders. That happens in most of the books due to her personality but here she really defies logic in gathering evidence. There is no way a prosecuting attorney could ever bring the bad guy to justice because virtually 100% of the evidence would be inadmissible. Goldy commits all sorts of crimes to gather that evidence as well, including multiple B&Es, false statements to the police (even her own husband) and yet she gets offended when the police don't share facts with her. What was once an endearing quality of Goldy's personality (which is what really drives these books) has now become simply annoying and making me, as a reader, have less and less sympathy for her.
The plot is so convoluted it seems Ms Davidson was making it up as she went along. There are so many subplots here, with minor characters making one or two sentence appearances, that it is hard to follow. The long-term characters, those that have appeared throughout the series, make zero strides forward. Goldy's son, Arch, for example, is 16 years old now but she still treats him like he was 11, actually dismissing him from the room when the word "sex" is uttered out loud. The mystery itself is weak, the surrounding plot was weak, and I was looking forward to the last page so I could get on to another book. That just ain't a good sign.
If it wasn't for the setting (Colorado), and hopes for further growth in characterization, I would give up on this series. I still may because there are just so many good books out there to spend my time with.
Ms Davidson is a talented writer as evidenced by her past work. Perhaps it's time to move on to a new series.