By Linda Lovely
A Brie Hooker Mystery #2
Henery Press, 2018
It’s been seven months since Brie Hooker, a vegan, moved to Udderly Kidding Dairy to live with her feisty Aunt Eva, a confirmed carnivore.
But tonight there’ll be no family feud over dinner entrees.
Udderly’s hosting a campaign fundraiser for Eva’s best friend, who hopes to be South Carolina’s next governor. The candidate’s son, a pro quarterback, is flying home for the wingding. And Brie’s eager to get a close-up view of the cute tush she’s admired on TV, even though she’s reluctantly sworn off even more tempting local beefcake.
The campaign fundraiser promises to be a huge success until a pitchfork attack turns the goat farm into a crime scene—again.
To protect her friends, Brie puts her sleuthing skills to work. Will she live long enough to find out who’s behind a vicious assault, a kidnapping, blackmail, and murder?
With its rural South Carolina setting, a goat farm (400, to be exact), and quirky characters, Picked Off is a fun cozy mystery. Cozies often have a creatively crazy title, but here it’s the Udderly Kidding Dairy and the name Brie Hooker that had me shaking my head. Really cute! There are some references to previous events from the first book, but this story stands alone.
The age-old vices of jealousy, revenge, and greed play a big part in the mystery, including the lure of sports gambling. The strong secondary characters function almost like an ensemble cast, and they added so much to this story – from Brie’s Aunt Eva, to her friend Mollye, and the two friend/boyfriend guys, Paint and Andy. I liked both of the guys and wish Brie wasn’t so indecisive. Hopefully she will choose one or find someone else in the next book.
South Carolina politics also enters into the storyline, beginning with a Halloween costume party that served as a fundraiser for Eva’s friend and governor candidate, Carol Strong. It was a fun evening – until an attack that left a pro football star in a coma. The mystery was well plotted, with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing.
I didn’t care for the mild profanity, even when food terms were used as substitutes, and the romantic, lustful element had too much emphasis for me. Still a good cozy mystery overall.
I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Linda Lovely finds writing pure fiction isn’t a huge stretch given the years she’s spent penning PR and ad copy. Linda writes a blend of mystery and humor, chuckling as she plots to “disappear” the types of characters who most annoy her. Quite satisfying, plus there’s no need to pester relatives for bail. Her newest series offers good natured salutes to both her vegan family doctor and her cheese-addicted kin.
She’s an enthusiastic Sisters in Crime member and helps organize the popular Writers’ Police Academy. When not writing or reading, Linda takes long walks with her husband, swims, gardens, and plays tennis.
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