By Annette Dashofy
Zoe Chambers Series #7
Henery Press, 2018
Rural Pennsylvania’s Vance Township Police Chief Pete Adams is down an officer and has been dealing with extra shifts as well as a pair of bickering neighbors, one of whom owns a machete and isn’t afraid to use it.
Golden Oaks Assisted Living is outside Pete’s jurisdiction, but a murder in the facility his Alzheimer’s-afflicted father calls home makes the case personal.
Paramedic and Deputy Coroner Zoe Chambers has been itching for an opportunity to take the lead in a death investigation. She gets her chance when her boss is hospitalized and not only assigns her to the Golden Oaks homicide but puts her in charge of the county coroner’s office.
As if she doesn’t have enough to handle, a long-lost, over-protective, older half-brother walks into her life threatening to drive a wedge between her and the man she loves.
A second dead body leads them to realize the case may have dark ties to a distant past…and if Zoe doesn’t untangle the web of lies, Pete will be the one to pay the ultimate price.
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Cry Wolf is an impressive murder mystery, well written and downright hard to put down. It quickly engages the emotions and makes readers care about the characters. Complexity comes from great character depth that is developed throughout the series and multiple storylines, seemingly with no connection at first, but that are creatively woven and intertwined into the fabric of the narrative.
The rural Pennsylvania setting is beautifully integrated into this story, even as the first joint incident Zoe and Pete are called to involves a man throwing toxic grass clippings into his neighbor’s horse paddock, and an ensuing machete attack. Readers are often asked to suspend reality or belief in a work of fiction, but what I like most about this story is that it feels so very real – everything from Pete’s caring concern about an officer’s struggle over killing someone, to following Zoe on her paramedic calls and work in the coroner’s office, to the continuing storyline with Pete’s father residing at Golden Oaks Assisted Living – incidentally, where the first murder occurs.
The relationship between Zoe and Pete continues to develop and they have a sweet chemistry between them. And even more richness comes from the sudden, unexpected appearance of Zoe’s half-brother, met with acceptance and questions from Zoe and Pete respectively. As the mystery develops, I loved how past events come into play and how everything is cleverly woven together.
The only negative for me is the frequent use of mild profanity, which is completely unnecessary. If you could take a black marker and cross out these words, Cry Wolf would be outstanding. As a murder mystery, however, Cry Wolf is a favorite (as is the whole series) and I highly recommend it, but with that caveat.
I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township.
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