Title: A Hasty Grave
By Jessie McAlan
GENRE: Amateur sleuth
SPECIAL NOTE: The book is on sale for $0.99.
Finding a large hole on one’s property is one thing; finding a body in it the following day is quite another.
Rona and her ex-husband, Johnny, also discover a sheet of paper at the gravesite, symbols looking like code or treasure hunting glyphs. What’s it mean? Does it have any bearing on the man’s death?
Add to this mix the old Finley-Tennet feud and an elderly Finley’s nebulous recollection of James/Younger outlaw days. Does she have the clue to the cache’s location?
When a second death pushes Rona and Johnny into a deadly game of hide-and-seek with the killer, she learns—nearly too late–just how deeply Johnny still loves her.
She’d set her laptop on the coffee table and was getting out dessert plates and mugs when the bell to the side door rang. She cracked open the window, saw it was Johnny, then ushered him inside.
“First time in quite a while I’ve been given the eye.” He gave her a light kiss on the cheek. “Wouldn’t a peep hole in the door work better?”
“I just wanted to be certain it was you. Can you install a peep hole?”
“Nothing to it, especially for a man who’s put in those picture windows in his shop.” He flung his cap onto the kitchen table and shrugged out of his jacket. “Why the precautions all of a sudden?”
“It’s a long story.”
“I’m not busy the rest of my life. Except for October 28th. I’ll be occupied with the gallery’s opening that day. But the other ten thousand nine hundred fifty days are yours.”
“How long is that?
“Thirty years, give or take a leap day or two. I want to make sure I’m not skimping on our time together.”
“You plan on living to one hundred seven?”
“I don’t see why not. I have to make up for our year of separation and divorce.” He dished two servings of the pudding cake into the bowls, set them and the mugs on the tray, and took them into the den. “So, what’s this long story that requires precautions? I love stories. I was brought up on stories.”
“This isn’t Little Red Riding Hood. Sorry to disappoint you.”
“So it’s something else with a big bad wolf.”
Review by Emily: I’m giving A Hasty Grave four (4) stars. The greatest part of this book is the character development and the strength and authenticity of Rona, the main character. She’s definitely not a TSTL (Too Stupid To Live). Rona reacts to threats in different ways and all of these are honest and perfectly fit her character. The secondary characters are equally as well-developed.
The dialogue is great. I hate to use the word “authentic” again but it’s the only word that fits here. It’s a joy to read.
The setting is enjoyable—a small town on the banks of the Mississippi. It’s definitely a unique place to hold a murder mystery.
I also like the red herrings. LOL, ‘nough said. (They really make the book more entertaining.)
Unfortunately, I had two problems with the narrative. The first is minor. The author tends to head-hop, briefly delving into another character’s point of view even though the book is obviously in Rona’s point of view. This is only a small distraction.
The second problem is more challenging to get around, and that’s pacing. This book stops and starts, offering brief jolts of action followed by long expository passages.
These two things aside, if you like hints at romance, well-developed characters, and a gradual but progressive plot, you will like A Hasty Grave.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A family trip to the Big Spring area in the Missouri Ozarks introduced Jessie to the wonders of nature. Her summer stints as a camp counselor and canoeing instructor cemented her enthusiasm. This love of the natural world and the river flows through her Linn House mysteries.
In 2001 Jessie graduated from Webster University with a BA degree and departmental honors in English.
She lives in the St Louis, MO area, and spends as much time as she can writing mysteries and watching the barges on the river.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Jessie McAlan will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Rafflecopter Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2671