The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore

The Big Rewind by Libby CudmoreAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Mystery/Romance/Fiction

Publisher: William Morrow Paperback

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

Jett Bennett moved to New York to become a music journalist. What she found was a temp gig as a proofreader, but at least she’s fitting in with the artists and musicians in the tragically hip Brooklyn neighborhood she calls home.

But when Jett opens up her mail and finds a mix tape meant for her neighbor, KitKat, a local queen bee renowned for her “enhanced” baked goods and retro videogame collection, everything changes. Jett drops off the cassette and discovers that it’s game over for KitKat: someone bashed her head in with a rolling pin… and left her pot brownies burning in the oven.

KitKat’s boyfriend, Bronco, is M.I.A. Her sister is so desperate that she asks Jett to snoop around. Then there’s that mix tape. Jett didn’t know KitKat well, but she knows music. And a tape full of love songs from someone other than Bronco screams motive—sending Jett and her best friend, Sid, on an epic quest to find KitKat’s killer through record stores, strip joints, vegan bakeries, and basement nightclubs—a journey that resonates with Jett, and her past, in unexpected ways.

A great debut novel set in New York City where a friend’s death starts a young woman on a journey of discovery, not only to find the murderer but also her past and future.

Jett Bennett has a master’s in music journalism and is living in New York City, her plan was to be a famous journalist who is invited to all the major concerts and who knows all the right people, but dreams die hard and fast in the real world and she is currently a proofreader for a private investigator. She is staying in her grandmother’s rent controlled apartment while she is away, enjoying this quirky Brooklyn neighborhood filled with interesting people and personalities. Her downstairs neighbor KitKat is an eccentric, fun woman who cooks pot brownies and listens to mix-tapes. When one of those tapes accidentally ends up in her mailbox Jett walks downstairs to give it to KitKat, only to find her murdered. The mixed tape leads her on a wild chase of clues and interesting people as she tries to solve the murder.

This story leans toward the New Adult genre, but happily with much less angst and drama. I am a fan of music and was excited as the author uses music as a backdrop to most of the scenes in the story. I enjoyed remembering many of the artists and songs she mentions, she pairs them well with the story.

Jett is an interesting woman who is living a superficial life, she has not realized her dream job, she is not romantically involved with anyone and many of her neighbors are just acquaintances. Her one true staple in life is her best friend Sid; they do everything together, including enjoying the same music and watching old cop shows. Things change when her neighbor is murdered, someone she now regrets not getting to know better and she starts to re-examine her life by looking at her past. She pulls out the Boyfriend Box, full of mementos of her past loves and rehashes old memories of why things did not work, she even contacts many of her ex’s and they reminisce about their lives. During this time she also starts looking at the present and makes a realization about Sid, noticing that her feelings have changed. Of course at the same time she is still interested in solving a murder and although not actively looking for clues, she seems to find them as the mix-tape sends her in many directions.

The pace works well for the most part, it is a little slow at times but I like the author’s voice, and there is a bit of a hipster feel about the story. The setting and music from the 80’s and 90’s set the tone, I could almost hear a soundtrack playing in the background as I was reading. A few secondary characters play key roles, Sid is entertaining and I like the two of them together both as friends and lovers. I also liked Bronco and Hillary, they were very close to KitKat and they help with information. There is some sex in the story but mostly “behind doors sex” and not many scenes burn up the pages. I felt the story go in several different directions at times, and wondered about some of the paths it goes down, however it eventually comes together nicely at the end.

I give The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore 4 stars!

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