Hit and Run: By Sandra Balzo, A Thanksgiving Mystery

Nov 22, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win an ebook copy of Hit and Run, and info on how to purchase a copy of the book where a portion goes to help support KRL.

If Dickens Hart intended to get himself murdered, he couldn’t have planned better than to invite his possible progeny, and their mothers, to spend Thanksgiving weekend with him. Notorious for being an unapologetic, and exceedingly wealthy, Lothario, who often dallied amidst the “fawns” of his Playboy-like gentleman’s club, Dickens has an extensive Black Book list recording his affairs. This wouldn’t be a problem for former Wisconsin reporter AnnaLise Griggs, if she hadn’t just taken the distasteful but very well-paying job of writing Dickens’ memoir. Well, that and also recently discovering that she herself is the first, so far, declared illegitimate daughter and legitimate heir of Dickens Hart.book

AnnaLise may consider Dickens to be an amoral egomaniac, but with pressure from both her mother, Daisy, and her co-mother, Phyllis “Mama” Ballisteri, to protect AnnaLise’s rightful position as heir, she finds herself attending the Thanksgiving weekend at the Sutherton Lake, North Carolina estate. Three candidates, their mothers, as well as two of Dickens’ former wives are contenders for inheritance privileges. That one of them is Joy Tamarack, AnnaLise’s friend, who plans to drink her way through the event while enjoying the ensuing chaos, ensures that things will be lively if less than helpful.

Shots through a window herald the beginning of events to come, and when Dickens inevitably fails to wake up one morning, AnnaLise isn’t the only one certain that he didn’t go peacefully. When evidence begins to conveniently point towards AnnaLise, even she has to admit that it looks as though someone is trying to push her out of the way of an inheritance that she doesn’t want, but just learned that she will desperately need.

As the author of the Maggy Thorsen coffeehouse mystery series, Sandra Balzo can always be counted on for her acerbic wit, sarcastic dialogue and characters who often display a jaded and cynical attitude towards life. AnnaLise, who can’t help but raise an eyebrow to her bio-father’s lifestyle and be exasperated with his excessive list of conquests both BV (before vasectomy) and after, is balanced by her very likable mother, and goal-orientated Mama, who cooks foods from recipes off the back of cans and boxes in her restaurant.

Characters from the two previous Main Street mysteries appear, but new readers will have no problem being immersed in this very humorous take on the traditional locked-door mystery. Perhaps most enjoyable is that no character is completely unlikable or two-dimensional, and with Dickens’ arrogance mostly setting him up to be murdered, one feels more sympathy for the murderer than the victim. AnnaLise wields sarcasm like a weapon, yet is careful on whom she unleashes her wit, making her a delightfully funny and intelligent heroine.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Hit and Run, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Hit,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 29, 2014. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address. Special Note: The publisher is giving away 5 copes of this book with this review, but they can only give them away through a free online service called NetGalley–winners will be instructed on how to join by the publisher.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL!

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. This sounds like a great, new book in the series, with a victim you love to hate.

  2. Sounds like a fun read. Thanks, Cynthia, for introducing me to a new (to me) author I want to read.

  3. Sounds like a good read — good time for family fights at a big dinner also!

  4. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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