by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to enter to win a copy of Death in Perspective at the end of this review.
At twenty-six years of age, freelance portrait artist Cherry Tucker has an ex-husband for a roommate, isn’t speaking to her brother, and continues to be harassed by her nemesis Shawna Branson. Cherry thought that being hired to create stage art for the very elite Peerless Day Academy’s drama department was a step towards maturity and possibly getting recommendations to other towns in Georgia. That the set is for an avant-garde Romeo and Juliet production described by the pretentious director Terry Tinsley as Glee meets Avatar, only underwater, well that’s probably not a good sign. That the school secretary was just discovered dead and possibly cyber-bullied into suicide is somewhat worse.
“Ghost texting” takes on a new meaning when menacing anonymous messages are sent out on the school’s PeerNotes service (think Facebook) and recipients seem to have a habit of turning up dead. The unique twist here is that despite the rivalry between drama and art students and the elitist attitudes held by the pampered teens, it is actually the teachers and administrators who are the targets of the cyber-bullying. Tinsley hires Cherry to protect him and investigate the threats as much as to create the backdrops to what can only be described as an eccentric production.
More important to the Tucker family is Cherry’s relationship with Deputy Luke Harper, the man who once broke her heart but who is now pursuing her with laser-like intensity. This is problematic, as his mother married into the Branson family, whose hatred for Cherry’s family goes back generations and rivals the Hatfields and McCoys. Considering that Cherry’s brother Cody has just illegally discovered possible evidence linking their absentee mother and a Branson man who disappeared around the same time only makes relations between the families worse. A very perky complication plagues the star-crossed lovers in the form of former cheerleader Tara Mayfield, a bubbly blonde beloved by all who would be absolutely perfect if not for her habit of genially stalking Luke. Even Cherry finds herself unable to dislike Tara or her radar-like ability to pinpoint Luke’s location. The two become unlikely allies in the quest to find the phantom texter and link to a former student’s death.
It’s easy to become frustrated with how everyone in Cherry’s family has a very vocal opinion on how she lives her life but in the small town of Halo, everyone is in everyone else’s business and nothing is valued more than Family. Thankfully, Cherry’s stubbornness and resilient good humor give her the ability to navigate among stage-moms, prickly teachers, and career-driven teens. In her fourth full-novel Cherry Tucker Mystery author Reinhart succeeds in mixing laughter with the serious topic of cyber-bully through blogs and texts, all the while developing a chemistry between Cherry and Luke that absolutely sizzles.
To enter to win a copy of Death in Perspective, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Cherry,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 28, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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