by Kathleen Costa
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of Insects, Ivy, & Investigations, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Karma as a Co-Pilot
By no fault of her own and with Karma as her co-pilot, Mae West left New York City and moved to Normal, Kentucky. She had swore she’d never return to the area in which she had lived a few miles away. A terrible house fire left her orphaned and in foster care, then adopted, by Mary Elizabeth Mobley, but on her eighteenth birthday, she climbed out a window, had a friend drive her to the station, and took the first bus out of town. But, Karma had her best interest at heart. After enjoying a luxurious lifestyle, the karmic circumstances with her husband’s arrest and government confiscation of marital assets, forced her to return. And now, here in Normal, she transformed herself along with the Happy Trails Campground, the only asset she was allowed to keep, and in many ways the town itself, and is living her best life with good friends, a loving boyfriend, and reconnecting with her adoptive mother. But, it hasn’t always been a bunch of roses with mayhem, mystery, and murder as unfortunate guests.
Insects, Ivy, & Investigations Earns 5/5 Laundry Club Gossips…Engaging Fun!
A Camper and Criminals Mystery is one of my favorite series from Tonya Kappes: campgrounds, conundrums, and criminal activity…COZY! In this seventeenth book, Mae West is surprised by the arrival of Alicia Becker, a young woman claiming she is one of her adopted mom’s foster children, with her bruised and battered appearance and stories of abuse. She tries hard to ingratiate herself into Mary Elizabeth’s and Mae’s life, but for Mae it’s more annoying with her popping up everywhere and that whole “sis” thing. Of course, this puts Mae in “nosy” mode, determined to find out the why behind Alicia’s surprise visit. It gets complicated when Craig Sutton, her ex-con, ex-boyfriend, and reason behind the bruises, is seen in town. Alicia’s threatening comments that she’d “kill him” will be regretted when, later, he is found bludgeoned. Everyone is taking sides when she’s deemed the number one suspect…innocent, framed, self-defense, or murder.
The mystery is quite engaging with my favorite “karma” comeuppances along with a compelling backstory of Alicia Becker’s life, insights in Mae’s past, discussions about the future among various characters, and a few surprising incidents. Tonya’s signature writing style is descriptive bringing to life the environment and character personalities which includes informative dialogue, clever banter, and southern manners to complete this page-turner cozy. Beyond the murder mystery, the efforts by Mae and the Laundry Club to investigate, and the surprising reveal, this book has additional insights into Mae’s past, Hank’s personal debate about a new career opportunity, and more information about the lives and businesses of peripheral characters. The final wrap up was one of karma’s best! I know each time I review a book in this series I mention Dottie and her smoking. The depiction of Dottie’s manner and addiction is realistic, cringe-worthy at times, and plain disappointing, and although I enjoy realistic manners and reactions, I really wish Dottie would quit. That said…I do love this series that highlights well notions of family, karma, and redemption.
Bonus! Adding to the delightful experience with this series is the unique “Recipe and Hack from Mae West.” Mae’s recipe proves “it’s” always better on a stick…enjoy an easy peasy Cinnamon Buns on a Stick. Mae’s camping hack deals with the “unwritten” ideas you learn along the way: choosing the right space at a campground, best star gazing practice, courtesy rules for noise, and just enjoy!
P.S. Along with phrases like ‘hunky-dory” or “big ole duck fit,” there was one line I had not heard before that struck me as brilliant. When Buck is asked how’s he doing, he grinned and responded, “We’re above ground.” It may have taken seconds to get it, but I loved it!
Alert! Two A Camper and Criminals Cozy books are on the horizon. Book eighteen Outdoors, Oars, & Oaths, releasing in late June, is on Amazon preorder HERE. Book nineteen Wildlife, Warrants, & Weapons, releases in late July, is on Amazon preorder HERE.
Be a Big Tonya Kappes Fan!
Nearing one hundred novels, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes is also one of my Top Ten favorite authors. With this sixteen-book Camper & Criminals Cozy series, she also has a five-book Mail Carrier Cozy Mystery along with exciting ghostly-, magical-, and caffeinated-themed series. For ghosts, she has the popular eight-book Ghostly Southern Mystery and seven-book Kenni Lowry series. Add some magic with the twelve-book Magical Cures Mystery and three-book Spies and Spells series. And finally, get a little caffeinated with her eight-book Killer Coffee Mystery. She also has an enjoyable online presence and various events enticing fans to gather to talk, share, and partake in the fun!
To enter to win an ebook of Insects, Ivy, & Investigations, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “insect,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 29, 2021. US only, and must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out the first chapter of Tonya’s book Dead to the Last Drop which was featured in a past podcast episode. You can check it out here, or in the player below:
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 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.