by Kathleen Costa
This week we have a review of the latest Camper and Criminals Mystery mystery by Tonya Kappes, and a brief look at the first book in the series, Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an audiobook copy of the first book, and a link to purchase the new one from Amazon.
Serious Life Changes…a Campground?!
Maybelline “Mae” Grant West, has found herself without her gold card, New York condo, high-end auto, Hampton’s escape, and husband of two-years. Paul West’s busted Ponzi scheme and going-to-jail future has also impacted her future. Although exonerated of any wrong doing since her signature was proven a forgery, she did enjoy the benefits of his ill-gotten gains with shopping, spa visits, and a leisurely lifestyle. In the hard-fought final settlement, she did receive, free and clear, a flamingo keychain to a small bright-yellow camper and…“A campground?” Here’s where Tonya Kappes introduces the first in her Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery series.
Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries earns 5/5 Ponzi Predicaments…Clever!
Although Mae’s new life challenges the idea of “normal,” she heads off to her hometown of Normal, Kentucky, to take possession of the really-needs-work Happy Trails Campground; ownership was fortunately in her name only, so not forfeited to the government. Despite a hidden “sock drawer” surprise from her ex-husband, this new life is going to be a challenge with much needed renovations and dealing with a town full of her husband’s victims. But she’s deemed the prime suspect by local law enforcement, when, after escaping from jail, her ex is found floating in the lake…dead. Ooooh, Karma is always there when you need him!
In the print/eBook versions, Tonya has included unique “Recipes and Cleaning Hacks From Mae West and Women From Normal, Kentucky, and Happy Trails Campground.” The three RV Hacks include ways to Keep Away the Critters, uses for Duct Tape According to Queenie, and Ty Randal’s Secret Grout Cleaner. Enjoy the following recipes not just for camping: Preacher’s Wife Pineapple Casserole, Henry’s Buttermilk Garlic and Cheddar Biscuits, and Campfire S’more Dip Using a Cast Iron Skillet.
Giveaway Alert! Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries is one of the four books in this series already available in audio format, all narrated by the very talented Johanna Parker. Of course, Tonya Kappes’s story is the star with a clever mystery giving Karma free reign, relatable (some quirky) characters illustrating a fun Southern nature, a bit of “maybe” romance, and a satisfying ending with just the right amount of peril. But, Johanna Parker enriches the experience by going beyond a traditional reading out loud with a pleasant tone, engaging emotion, enjoyable and varied southern drawls, and fine male voices which often is hard to do for female narrators. This is definitely a great way to enjoy Tonya’s series!
Canyons, Caravans, & Cadavers earns 5/5 Southern Delights…Entertaining!
Mae West (cute name fits her personality) is pleased to receive recognition for her success with reenergizing the campground and it’s positive impact on the revitalization of the town of Normal, Kentucky, and very excited to be asked to bring her expertise and experience into the high school classroom. However, her eagerness to impart her knowledge to the next generation is overshadowed by the discovery of fellow teacher/archery coach in one of the campers at her campground, of course, with an arrow in his back! This find is negatively effecting her successful business, so using her amateur detective skills to find the killer is imperative, but not without the support of her boyfriend/sheriff and, my favorite, the Laundry Club ladies.
Candidate for Top Ten series for 2019! This sixth book, with another creative cover, goes beyond the traditional cozy formula by adding a southern flair with humor, quirky characters, small town life, and always a clever mystery to solve. Using an engaging first-person narrative from Mae’s perspective, Tonya always has a few twists that challenge your own detective abilities, which it did mine, vivid descriptions, and entertaining banter. The victim isn’t so innocent as the many suspects from his wife to students to their parents will attest, and along with more victims, Mae deals with drama at the campground along with her boyfriend and his family. Quite the entertaining page-turner!
Tonya also provides some fun extras: “Recipes and Cleaning Hacks From Mae West and Other Women From Normal, Kentucky, and Happy Trails Campground.” I enjoyed the three clever RV Hacks (Grippy Rubber Mats, Badge Holder Clips, and Get Lots of Vinegar cleaners) and especially the easy-to-follow recipes (Spring Lemon Drops, Coach’s Campfire Chili, and Coach’s Campfire Pizza).
Alert! Hurry up and join the Camper and Criminals Cozy Crowd. The seventh book in the series, Hitches, Hideouts, & Homicide is set to release at the end of May. What more will the residents of Normal be facing? Can’t wait!
Be a Big Tanya Kappes Fan!
Tonya Kappes is the my Top Ten favorite author of some exciting ghostly, magical, and caffeinated themed series to go along with her soon to be six-book Camper & Criminals Cozy series, all for which I am an eager fan! Be sure to check out my favorite Kappes series. For ghosts she has the popular seven-book Ghostly Southern Mystery and seven-book Kenni Lowry series. Add some magic with the eleven-book Magical Cures Mystery and three-book Spies and Spells series. Get a little caffeinated with her five-book Killer Coffee Mystery with book six A Killer Latte releasing at the end of April. As Maymee Bell, she has introduced the delightful two-book Southern Cake Baker Mystery.
To enter to win an audiobook copy of Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “beaches,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 27, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. 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. Check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors.A new episode goes up next week.
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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.