by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Picked Off along with a link to purchase the book from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
The death of her Aunt Lily led Brie Hooker back to Ardon County, South Carolina, where she stayed to help her other Aunt Eva run their Udderly Kidding Dairy. A devout vegan, Brie has grown to love the goats of the cheese and milk farm, even when they are a little aggressive with greetings (and an inadvertent turned back). The dairy farm of four-hundred goats is about to become even more boisterous when they host a Halloween-themed fundraiser for Carol Strong, Aunt Eva’s friend and a candidate for governor. Arriving in town to support Carol is her nephew Zack, a pro quarterback for the NFL taking time off between games to lend his celebrity status to the event. Not everyone approves of a female candidate with an anti-development stance, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that her welcoming speech is interrupted by the CAVE men, the accurately named Citizens Against Virtually Everything who are thrown off of the property. It may be a case of too little too late though, as Zach is later found bludgeoned and stabbed with a pitchfork in the Udderly Haunted Barn of Horrors.
Brie had thought that having to wear a risqué mermaid costume would be her biggest trauma of the night, but now she must worry that the attack was intended to affect Carol. The arrival of the NFL Las Vegas’s team owner and teammates complicate matters for the police, but it’s Zach’s past as a youth Ardon County that may have led to resentment and revenge in the present. This is almost enough to distract Brie from her enviable romantic life, which has her being wooed by two best friends whose friendship she is terrified of ending.
Politics get ugly in this absolutely charming farm-centric mystery, and the author skillfully incorporates timely topics within a very cozy setting. Brie swears using cheese and meat names, embraces addictions to coffee and caffeine, and corrals her aunt’s five Grand Pyrenees guard dogs. Fake news being wielded by a very biased, conservative newspaper becomes weaponized, and residents feel its impact despite the knowledge that they should know better. Those with little interest in professional football will become fascinated with the business aspect of running a team, although I admit that I still don’t understand how fantasy football actually operates. Perhaps an even bigger fantasy to emerge from this second in the series is the relationships between Brie and her beaus, but readers can anticipate a lot of fun potential for the future. The writing is sharp, and the plotting even more deftly handled in this unpredictable, extremely humorous mystery.
Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.
To enter to win a copy of Picked Off, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “picked,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 8, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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