The Mapleton Mystery Novellas Books 5-7 By Terry Odell

Feb 1, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of The Mapleton Mystery Novellas, and a link to purchase the novella set from Amazon.

Cozy Page Turners!
Gordon Hepler is the police chief for the small community of Mapleton, Colorado. Originally he accepted the position, not necessarily because he wanted the job, but as a promise to his late mentor, Chief Dixon. He wondered if he really was right for the position; he was by nature, temperament, and experience…just a cop. Along with piles of paperwork, PR needs, and leadership responsibilities, he also has to play politics with the mayor, which seems to offer the most difficulty. In the first full-length novel Deadly Secrets (2011), victims of a tragic accident are linked to a local murder then linked to a Nazi war criminal. In the second full-length novel Deadly Bones (2012), two dogs unearth, of course, a bone, and with a further search more human remains are discovered. In Deadly Puzzles (2014), Gordon is prescribed rest, so a B&B hours away from stress central seems the right response, but he forgot to the leave his “cop instincts” behind as he’s confronted by some puzzling events. Deadly Production (2015), has Mapleton hosting a film company with all the excitement, extra business, and headaches that entails, but a member of the crew is murdered and Gordon won’t let it go as he is directed to by the mayor. In 2015, novellas Deadly Places and Deadly Engagement were released, and in 2018 Deadly Assumptions was released. In 2019, the three novellas were combined in one exciting and “deadly” group…

Deadly Places earns 5/5 Red Folders! Acting Chief of Police Ed Solomon, although he prefers Officer, hopes this new position is only temporary. Chief Hepler had run afoul of one of the mayor’s directives and received a 60-day suspension, and even though it was rescinded, he still didn’t return to work. Ed may be the senior officer, but this Chief-thing is new and daunting, so he relies heavily on Laurie, office administrator, and the rest of the deputies, although standoffish because of the new hierarchy. He just hopes, when Gordon returns, it’ll all go back to normal. After crosswalk duty to keep up a positive connection with the younger citizens of Mapleton and checking morning reports on typical pranks for the Halloween season, the “red folder,” indicating immediate attention, grabbed Ed’s interest. How did someone get past the front desk to deliver it to the deputy’s desk? Inside was an envelope and a partial URL that lead him to an obituary of a man who had shirked his child-support duties. Details are sketchy, but it seems to fit with the Deadbeat Dad Killer investigation he’d been trying to get others to take seriously. So, what better way to prove his theory than going undercover.

A great introduction for me! This police procedural-style drama is written well with intriguing contemporary questions to answer: What do you do with Dads who refuse to support their families? Is vigilantism the only response? With Solomon putting himself literally in the line of fire, the suspense is ramped up, and the final confrontation was a big “Wow!” Solomon is better suited to leadership than he thinks.

Deadly Engagement earns 5/5 Sea Passes! Gordon Hepler decided his suspension at the hands of the mayor provided him an opportunity for a getaway with Angie Mead, and although it was revoked, they still planned to sail off on a Caribbean Cruise. The cruise was to be a reconnecting, but it didn’t start out without conflict; Gordon is missing and Angie is frantic. She looked everywhere, enlisted security, and when he finally appears, she learns he had asked a passenger they met to give Angie a message he went exploring the ship. But, Angie had spoken with said passenger, and she never gave her the message. Curious. Although his “Cop Vibe” was suppose to be offline, they decide to pit his vibes against her feelings. Angie has instincts, too, which come in handy when odd conversations are overheard, thefts are reported, people are not what they seem, and a dead body is propped in a vintage yellow Morgan.

Clever! It’s fun to note this story overlaps with Deadly Places. While Solomon is back in Mapleton appointed acting Police Chief and working to uncover an assassination ring, Gordon is off on vacation enjoying the rest of his suspension. This is my introduction to the main character in novels who I thoroughly enjoyed. He was real in his reactions, fun sense of humor, easily slips into cop mode, but keeps his promise to be out of cop mode, and his loving relationship with Angie is also a delightful investigative partnership.

Deadly Assumptions earns 5/5 Hindsight Memories! It’s been two years since Chief Dixon passed away and with Gordon’s father, Archie Hepler, also a great cop, gone, too, “wallowing” in a drink seems apropos. Ed joins the solemn reverie with a retelling of a story from fifteen years back, when he was a “green” recruit under the tutelage of Hepler’s dad, Chief Dixon was in charge, and Gordon was away at college with no intention of following in his father’s footsteps. It was a dark and stormy night… The call came in from Sam and Rose Kretzer concerning a possible break-in, and Dix reported there had been a few more reports than normal of minor issues: trespassing, property damage, vandalism. Then strangers. Missing husband. Assumptions are made, however, logical, but the old adage about “assuming” may get them in jeopardy…or dead.

Engaging! Since this novella trio is my introduction to the Mapleton Mystery community, it was delightful to be whisked back in time before the original novel when Solomon was a rookie, Hepler’s dad was his training officer, and Chief Dixon “Dix” was in charge for a bit of engaging background. The narrative changes to first-person from Solomon’s perspective, but the drama was more explorative, real police work, and lamenting the tech shortcomings of the Mapleton PD. But, the “don’t assume anything rule” escalated well at the end for quite a page-turner experience.

The Mapleton Mystery Novella Set earns 5/5 Police Badges…Excellent!
I am new to Terry Odell’s work and police procedural-style dramas, but it took only a couple of chapters in the Mapleton Mystery trio to make me a “Deadly” fan! This trio of novellas comes in at 297 pages with each individual story (100+ pages) easily enjoyed in one sitting. Terry’s writing style is smooth, easy to follow with a very entertaining sense of humor, delightfully snarky at times, in her descriptions, analogies, and character interactions. She aptly uses a third-person narrative in Deadly Places and Deadly Engagement which is often not my favorite since I appreciate the “I” perspective providing vicarious personal involvement, however, she did an excellent job keeping me totally engaged with realistic characters, effective retelling of valuable facts and background information (no spoilers), and some nail-biting peril. In the third book, Deadly Assumptions, she changes to a first-person narrative to better represent the story as a retelling from Ed Solomon’s perspective. Clever. The core set of characters react and respond in a realistic manner with personal strengths and flaws, but ultimately admirable with a set of values that highlights the rule of law. I don’t usually read books with a male protagonist, but Ed Solomon and Gordon Hepler along with Arch and Dix were all very engaging, reminding me of a Walt Longmire, John Barnaby, and Inspector Morse personas in their understated and introspective style. Along with the clever mysteries, often murder, to solve, Terry incorporates small town mores and politics, other crimes and misdemeanors, family issues and conflicts, and a camaraderie found in a small town police group.

mysteryAlert! The ninth book, Deadly Fun, is set for a February 24 release. “Someone is playing a cat-and-mouse game with Mapleton’s Chief of Police…and it’s deadly.” Chief Hepler’s friend was killed in an accident, and uncovers similar deaths around the country over the last twenty or so years. He also discovers the victim had been receiving the same kind of anonymous letters as he is. Whew! I’m hooked! The book is currently on Amazon PreOrder HERE.

Alert! The Mapleton Mystery novels Deadly Secrets, Deadly Bones, Deadly Puzzles, and Deadly Production are available on audio. This trio of novellas was released in May, 2019, as a group (Audible HERE) with 9 hours, 31 minutes of entertainment. On all of the books Steve Marvel uses his voice artistry to enrich the experience and add a marvelous tone to main characters dialogue.

Be a Big Terry Odell fan!
“Romance, with a twist of mystery” Terry Odell is the author of four series offering something for every fan of good writing. This seven-book Mapleton Mystery series with the three novellas grouped in an eighth book is a favorite. She also writes three romantic suspense series: nine-book Blackthorne Inc., seven-book Pine Hills Police, and three-book Triple D Ranch.

Facebook-Author Terry Odell
Website-Terry Odell
Blog-Terry’s Place

To enter to win The Mapleton Mystery Novellas Books 5-7, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “mapleton” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 8, 2020. US only, and must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email be sure to include your mailing address in case you win-emails will be deleted when the contest is over. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.

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Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. A nice trio of novellas! Count me in!

  2. Sounds like a great series!

  3. These sound great!

  4. Very interesting and love to read these.

  5. Sounds like another Sheriff
    Dan Rhodes – should be a good book.
    thanks txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com.

  6. I am not familiar with this series but it looks interesting to read. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  7. Love Terry’s books! I have not read these, they sound wonderful!

  8. We have a winner!



  1. Sweet Success for Terry Odell - Pikes Peak Writers - […] Way to go, Terry Odell! Kings River Life Magazine’s reviewer, Kathleen Costa selected THE MAPLETON MYSTERY Novellas as a…

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