by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a copy of Tagged to Death, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore.
After twenty years of marriage to a career Air Force military officer, Sarah Winston never imagined that her life would be like this. At the age of thirty-eight, Sarah finds herself starting over on her own, hoping to turn her love of bargain shopping and tag sales into a profitable business organizing garage sales. After her husband, CJ Hooker, confessed to impregnating his nineteen year-old airman, Tiffany Lopez, he was forced into early retirement to become the police chief of Ellington, Massachusetts. That Sarah still lives in the same town means that she not only lost her military family, but that she also continually faces harassment from the police force loyal to their new chief. Sarah tolerates the numerous traffic tickets written by ever-present officer, and she refuses to report the crank phones calls she receives of gunshots fired in the background.
After a successful and distracting day of hitting tag sales with her best friend Carol Carson– owner of the awesome Paint and Wine store–Sarah is shocked to discover two bloody shirts with CJ’s monograms on them in one of the bags. After finally returning CJ’s calls, they learn that Tiffany’s roommate has reported the young woman as a Missing Person. The former culinary student and aspiring aide to a general turns out to have ambitiously targeted CJ from the get-go, but believing CJ incapable of hurting an innocent, Sarah agrees to hide the evidence. Intent on proving CJ’s innocence while still unable to forgive him, Sarah begins an investigation on her own despite the suspicions of CJ’s department against her and the FBI’s towards him. Another murder that had been intended to further implicate Sarah puts her in greater jeopardy and isolates her just when she needed support.
Despite the charming cover, this mystery that does feature considerable bargain-hunting advice also proves to be a novel of darker domestic fiction. The tone is extremely grounded and the persecution of Sarah by the local police can be uncomfortably menacing as it definitely crosses the line into abuse of powers. Fortunately, relief comes in the form of Sarah’s highly entertaining and informative expeditions to garage sales and her extensive knowledge of antiques, vintage clothing, and collectables.
Sarah’s relentless spirit is admirable and her struggles to come to terms with CJ make her sympathetic and even more relatable. This is a promising start of a new series as the characters look to be moving on to more established and enjoyable places in their lives. This is an author to be on the watch for as she debuts this highly engaging and artfully written novel of recovery, re-building, and establishing new goals at just the point when one had thought to have been achieved.
To enter to win a copy of Tagged to Death, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Tagged,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 3, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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