by Sandra Murphy
& Duffy Brown
In this our Earth Day issue we are featuring e-books and books that somehow tie in to Earth Day. What could be more Earth friendly than bicycling, so this week we have a review & giveaway of Braking for Bodies by Duffy Brown, along with an interesting biking and Earth Day related guest post from Duffy. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Braking for Bodies, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore. There is also a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Braking for Bodies by Duffy Brown
Review by Sandra Murphy
Evie Bloomfield was sent to Mackinac Island to care for her boss’ father when he broke his leg. She never expected to like it there, much less enough to stay. But here she is, partnered with Rudy (her boss’ dad) in the bike shop. It seems she has a talent for painting the bikes with whimsical designs—the Sherlock, the Yankee, the My Little Pony—and they’re renting like hotcakes on the carless island.
Things are a little crazy right now, what with the Lilac Festival, all the tourists, and Irma and Rudy’s wedding. Evie is in charge of picking up the bride’s gown. When the package has a bright yellow sequined dress in it instead of a blushing bride pink gown, things start to go downhill.
For instance, there’s Peephole Perry and Zo, his secretary and current squeeze, getting off the ferry. Perry used to be Fiona’s boss in LA, Fiona being Evie’s BFF. Fiona, a superstitious sort, carried cloves of garlic and a bottle of extra virgin olive oil along, to help ward off evil spirits (aka Perry), but that plan failed. He makes it clear he knows a secret about Fiona, and he’s ever so willing to tell if she doesn’t pay him a little hush money.
Not long after, taking a short cut, Evie’s bike goes out of control. She crashes into something soft and squishy—Perry’s ever so dead body, right there beside the hotel.
Sutter, the hottie police chief, is nearby, and Fiona’s hiding in the bushes. Perry was seemingly bashed on the head, and conveniently, there’s a broken bottle of extra virgin olive oil next to the body. No one can blame Evie for taking a few gulps of courage (aka vodka) from Perry’s flask, even if it could technically be considered evidence.
One of the hotel guests jumps to the conclusion that Perry’s lifeless body is part of an unannounced mystery event. Evie convinces Sutter to go along with the story or face a mob of angry shopkeepers when the tourists make a run for the mainland and supposed safety.
Fiona is a likely suspect to anyone who doesn’t know her. She manages to hide from Sutter with the help of her friends. Meanwhile, back at the wedding, the caterer, the florist, the minister, the venue, all have gone by the wayside as problems arise. Irma is beside herself, Rudy is desperate, and Evie spends a night in jail. The situation calls for extreme measures so Evie calls her mom, a high powered attorney.
Since Perry was such a jerk, the suspects are many—the girlfriend, the wife, various blackmail victims, and maybe someone who followed him from LA. Add on Fiona, her parents, and anyone who met Perry, and it’s a full house.
Evie has her hands full, trying to keep track of Fiona, rent bikes, reorganize the wedding, deal with the sexy Sutter, and find the killer.
This is the second in the Cycle Path Mystery series. Evie is a likable character and has made a lot of friends on the island. I think we’ll be seeing more of her mom in future books. Cal, a friend of Sutter, is a good addition. Rudy and Irma make a cute couple, and it’s nice to see romance in the over 55 set. The spark of romance between Evie and Sutter is bound to lead to some seriously funny situations. The dialogue is great, the setting beautiful, and the characters ever-changing. I look forward to more adventures with Evie.
Duffy Brown also writes the Consignment Shop mysteries—there are four of them and a novella which gives you another stack in the ‘To Be Read’ pile.
Biking by Duffy Brown
Mackinac Island is not only a really neat eight-mile island in the Great Lakes where Lake Huron meets Lake Michigan, but it is probably one of the “greenest” places in the US. Eighty-percent of the island is a State Park, there are no motorized vehicles and recycling is a big way of life because getting rid of garbage on an island is tough.
Transportation is via foot, horse (there are 500 really big horses to do all the heavy lifting) and, of course, there are bikes, lots and lots of them. The fact is you can’t swing a dead cat around this island without wiping out a couple of bikers. There are tandem bikes, geared biked, bikes for kids, and three-wheeled bikes. There are bikes with trailers for taking the tots for a ride or the family dog. In “Braking for Bodies,” Evie who owns a bike shop has carts that hook on the back of bikes for golf clubs.
You can rent a bike from the many shops on Main Street or bring your own on the ferry. And, yes, that is the only way to get to MI unless you fly in on a one-engine puddle-jumper.
I visited MI with my bike and my daughter from NYC. When we got off the boat, she asked if we died…surely this was heaven. Going from the racket of Time Square to Mackinac Island all in one day is definite culture shock! There is NO noise unless you count the clip-clop of horse hooves noise. There are no traffic lights, no traffic jams, and no honking horns. There is clean air, blue skies, and peace. Bikes with baskets are parked in front of shops instead of cars, and parking lots are bike racks. Groceries and other purchases are in reusable sacks, and everyone is walking everywhere and loving it even in the rain. It’s called an umbrella.
Mackinac Island is a clean way of life. Considering there are only five-hundred full-time residents on the island, this environmentally sound living sounds pretty darn easy. And it is as its part of life. Clothes Swaps are twice a year where residents swap clothes to enhance their wardrobe. This year the yellow sweater with rhinestones might be yours, and next year you might see it on your neighbor who shares that same great taste in clothes. Furniture is resold or given away. The post office, ground zero for catching up on local news and gossip, has a bulletin board for that very purpose.
Now what about when those tourists visit? How do the locals get the guests to go along with their ideas? They have to as there are nearly a million visitors each year. Mackinac Island has figured out that people do what is expected. There are trashcans separated into plastic, paper, and trash. Tourists come prepared to walk or take horse taxis, and they bring their own bags, bikes, and sense that time moves at horse speed, not warp speed.
Mackinac Island is green out of necessity, and everyone who goes there seems to get on board with that idea…it works. One of the best parts of visiting Mackinac Island is that you feel one with the Earth and not just someone running around on it. That’s what living green is all about, and it can be done. We just have to make the commitment.
To enter to win a copy of Braking for Bodies, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “braking,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 23, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
If you use this link to purchase the book a portion will go to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy: