For people who enjoyed reading The Thursday Murder Club and A Good Day for Chardonnay but a pinch of noir.
You have Asperger’s Syndrome. You hate the name of this syndrome. You also stopped using drugs six months ago and now your best friend, Winsey, is dead. And your cat, Lester keeps pooping on the floor—it’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. And eff no, you don’t use the F-word, even when you find out Winsey was killed. You suspect the gargoyle who was sniffing around at the bar the night before, the last time you saw her alive.
“The perfect cozy for a rainy afternoon… Wingate’s latest GAG ME: A Friday Harbor Novel is a mystery lover’s delight with plenty of small-town charm, shocking twists, and a puzzling mystery. Asperger’s Syndrome is something she is diagnosed with, but life has been kind to her otherwise: she’s financially secure and the lively, fierce Winsey, her best friend, is always there for her. But her life turns upside down after Winsey is found murdered in her home. She must team up with Det. Connor Grossly if she wants to find the truth. Wingate deftly deploys a clever witty prose to offer a delicious, well-crafted mystery. Watching the duo navigate the ups and downs of their relationship while investigating Winsey’s murder is thorough fun. Readers will root for the unlikely allies as they sleuth their way through the deep web of mystery and intrigue. There are plenty of red herrings and shocking revelations, and the secondary cast, from humans to feline, is lovingly portrayed. This is a first-rate cozy imbued with dry wit and delightful characters who draw you in and leave you wanting more.” ~The Prairies Book Review
“The Bottom Line: A must-read whodunnit that is fresh, funny and truly innovative. GAG ME transports readers into the fragile psyche of a small-town waitress whose best friend, Winsey, is murdered. She works at a diner in tiny Friday Harbor, Washington, and had the misfortune of being the last person seen with Winsey. As such, she’s called in for questioning, and soon after, taken to the crime scene, where she spots a spoon, a tourniquet and a syringe with its needle still attached.
Wingate’s protagonist spends a lot of time with her 18-pound cat, Lester. Plus, her private nature isn’t a good look for a murder suspect, and that comes to a head when she finally meets “the gargoyle,” a man who she suspects is following her. But the gargoyle has a name: Connor. An undercover detective, Connor is on loan from another police department for reasons that begin mysteriously. Despite the obvious conflict of interest between lawman and suspect, the two have a certain chemistry that, thanks to Wingate’s flair for creating interpersonal friction, leads to more and feels authentic and earned.
Wingate’s levity cuts through the bleak subject matter in regular doses. And while there’s little in the way of graphic content, and few F-words to be found, Wingate stretches the limits of the cozy mystery genre in both form and style. Novels written largely entirely in the second person (where the reader is addressed as “you”) often suffer from disorientation, but that isn’t the case here. Wingate’s solution is to address the reader as if they’re in a scavenger hunt or escape room, with short, informational chapters with headings like “Someone You Need to Know.” While these informational dossiers occasionally call attention to form and away from story, Wingate executes it so consistently well that by the halfway point, immersion in this witty, innovative whodunnit is complete.” ~BestThrillers.com