Live, Local, and Dead – Nikki Knight

I asked for Live, Local, and Dead, a book written by Nikki Knight, because the synopsis intrigued me and I was in the mood for some cozy mystery drama. Did I get my money’s worth (in a metaphorical way, as I grabbed it from NetGalley)?

Hm. Not quite.


Death waits for snowman in Nikki Knight’s new Vermont-based cozy series, perfect for fans of Connie Archer and Mary Kennedy.

In a fit of anger, radio DJ Jaye Jordan blows a snowman’s head off with a Revolutionary War-style musket. But the corpse that tumbles out is all too human. Jaye thought life would be quieter when she left New York City and bought a tiny Vermont radio station. But now, Edwin Anger–the ranting and raving radio talk show host who Jaye recently fired–lies dead in the snow. And the Edwin Anger fans who protested his dismissal are sure she killed him.

To clear her name, Jaye must find the real killer, as if she doesn’t have her hands full running the radio station, DJing her all-request love song show, and shuttling tween daughter Ryan to and from school. It doesn’t make matters easier that the governor–Jaye’s old crush–arrived on the scene before the musket smoke cleared. Fortunately, Jaye has allies…if you count the flatulent moose that lives in the transmitter shack, and Neptune, the giant gray cat that lives at the station.

If Jaye can turn the tables on the devious killer, she and the governor may get to make some sweet, sweet music together. But if she can’t, she’ll be off the air…permanently.

304 pages
Cozy mystery
Crooked Lane Books


Cover: Nice! I like the cat & dj console combo; the title color, however, is the visual equivalent of a kick in the shin. White would have been a better choice.


  • Live, Local, and Dead follows the adventures of Jacqueline ‘Jaye’ Jordan, a radio DJ who moves to Vermont with her daughter after divorcing her husband. Some people like her; some don’t, because another radio show gets canceled after her arrival. When a dead body shows up, things get even more complicated.  
  • I appreciated Knight’s attempt to make a political statement out of Live, Local, and Dead. Trying to raise awareness about certain themes is important, even when it’s done via the pages of a book.
  • Some parts are engaging or downright funny—the moose—while the cast of characters seems to support the story well. The MC comes off as honest and hardworking, and the romantic bits add to the plot. 


  • This cozy mystery is not really cozy and Jaye doesn’t do anything about it. Someone else solves both the Governor issue and the main issue. Plus, the inciting incident seems to leave her unfazed; I was expecting false accusations, lingering doubts, maybe even a bit of misdirected self-guilt. I got nothing. A person kicks the bucket and people are just standing there, trying not to make inappropriate jokes. Color me puzzled.
  • Weird sentence structure, verbal tenses switch, and inconsistencies pepper the book. I had to stop reading more than once in order to figure out what was going on, and that was a mood killer.  
  • Some characters are just too stereotyped. Tropes and fixed traits exist for a reason, but having Evil Character A and Good Character B with no space for any nuance is meh.
  • Sending positive messages is a great thing, as I pointed out before; ditching the plot in order to do so feels a little sloppy. As I’m reading a book and not listening to a debate, I’d expect both plot and message to be present throughout the story. 

2 stars on GR.

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