Review: One Dog Too Many (Mae December, #1) ~ Lia Farrell

One Dog too manyMae December runs a successful dog boarding business in Tennessee. When her neighbor, Ruby Mead-Allison fails to pick up her unruly Pomeranian from Mae’s kennel, Mae pokes around and discovers the woman’s body. She is found with a traffic counting cord around her neck, wearing one red boot. While delving into the mystery of Ruby’s death, Mae meets handsome Sheriff Ben Bradley. Together they find no shortage of suspects. Ruby was standing in the way of a project that would widen her rural road and make the area safer. Was she killed by an angry neighbor? The Road Commissioner? Her estranged husband? Her disinherited brother? The Sheriff may not appreciate Mae’s amateur detecting, but he responds to her as a woman. Meanwhile the murderer thinks its time to put a permanent stop to Mae’s meddling.

Part of the ‘A Book from every State of the Union’ Reading Challenge – Tennessee

5 Thumbs-UpWhat a great start to a series.  This Author’s debut novel contains exactly all the right ingredients needed to make a perfect cozy mystery.

Even if the reader wasn’t aware when they picked this up that is was set in the South, as soon as they start to meet and get to know the characters it would become apparent.  The women and their mannerisms all reminded me of the Southern women I have encountered since coming to live in the US, and some even resembled family members which made me smile.  Through a crisp writing style the Author brings their characters not only to life, but has them serving sweet iced tea to the reader as they progress through this book, and in this way it I found it very easy to connect with them and establish a relationship; even their gossip made me feel included in their everyday lives.

Although this is a cozy mystery, it is written in such a manner that it reflects its setting.  There is no rushing to the climax, which when it comes is fast paced and packs a punch, but rather a slow and deliberate feel to the whole plot; rather like life in a small rural Southern town, slow, deliberate and with meaning in everything that takes place.  So carefully has the Author worked at setting the scene for the plot that the reader is pulled into the town itself and made to feel part of a community where everyone knows everything about everybody… or do they?  In the writing of the dog boarding and breeding side of the novel, it was plainly obvious that not only had the Author done extensive research into these subjects, but then taken the time to make them interesting enough to their readers as to not seem out of line with the rest of the happenings; this time was well spent as I found these parts of the book very interesting and not off-putting at all.

I would highly recommend this book to lovers of a good cozy mystery, and I will definitely be reading more in this series as they appear.

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Review: Three Southern Short Stories ~ Karen Cunningham

3 Southern Short Stories

Three Southern Short Stories- a blend of humor, mystery and self sacrifice, from a uniquely Southern perspective.

Medium Gold-A spirit medium has her vacation sidetracked by the mischievous ghost of a Confederate officer who wants her help to find the gold he buried at the end of The War.

The Murder Code-A teenage boy inherits his grandfather’s shortwave radio, and stumbles across a coded message about his murder.

Hope Deferred Maketh the Heart Sick- A new life beckons to Millie, but she turns away to take care of her abusive ex husband because she thinks it’s the right thing to do.

4 Thumbs-Up

This is the first novel by this Author and has broken into the writing world with a wonderful little trilogy of short stories, of just the right length, and if the Author keeps up this level of writing in her next book and beyond, she will soon become a name on every book reader’s lips.

My favourite in this little trilogy had to be “The Murder Code”, which pulled me in as soon as I read “Tate had tee die.” It went from good to incredible from there.

As with all short story compilations, it is hard to write in detail about character development but, in the few pages allocated to each tale, not only is the Author able to write strong believable character, but make sure you are able to have an opinion about them too, whether you love or hate them.

The dialogue is pure Southern and, as a Brit, I sometimes had to ask my Husband what certain things meant as he is from the South.  All the knowledge and experiences the Author has of living in the South, and her wit and intelligence comes through with every word.

I would recommend this to anyone, as it covers most tastes, and is not offensive in any way. It’s a great little read to carry in your bag, so when the moment presents itself you have something to enjoy.   It’s a rare treasure in a world where most books and short stories are full of sex and unnecessary violence. Even the murder in the above mentioned story, is committed in a gentile Southern sort of way.

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