I wanted a distraction. The local phone book had contained Abel Spencer’s address. My lodge had contained a local phone book. Some would call that a sign. Or Standard hotel phone book practice. Either way, I felt a quick visit to Mr. Spencer’s homestead in order. Just to round out my curiosity on the man. I couldn’t focus on schmoozing while my brain kept taking trips to what’s-the-deal-with-Abel-Spencer land. I’l admit my brain doesn’t always work like others. It runs along the tracks toward Morbidity and Inquisitiveness Junction. Often with a quick stop at Meddling-ville. We’ll just chalk it up to my artistic nature and not to my constant need to fix lemonade in my life’s contact barrage of lemons.
ABOUT THE BOOK: When Cherry Tucker’s invited to paint the “kill portrait” for the winner of Big Rack Lodge’s Hogzilla hunt, it seems like a paid vacation. Back home in Halo, a Hatfield-McCoy-style standoff builds between Luke and Cherry’s families. She’s ready for a weekend away, hobnobbing with rich and famous hunters, where she can forget her troubles and nobody knows her name.
As Georgia sunshine turns to bleak December rain, Cherry’s R&R goes MIA when she finds a body in the woods. While the police believe the local drunk took an accidental spill, Cherry has her doubts, particularly when a series of malicious pranks are targeted at the rifle toting contestants. With loyal companions at her side—sort-of-ex-husband Todd and a championship bayer named Buckshot—Cherry tracks suspects through a forest full of pitfalls and perils. And all the while, a killer’s stalking the hunt party with a bead on Cherry.
REVIEW: An artist’s perception of the life around them is filled with creativity, intrigue and sometimes—downright troublesome curiosity. Reinhart captivates her readers with this novel by allowing the murderous viewpoint to be addressed by a painter. Cherry Tucker is the mysterious problem solver who always needs to meddle into the cases within local law enforcement. Her decision to take a small trip for commission has gone awry—very awry. With the knowledge that she holds, her actions speak volumes—which makes her seem more like an annoyance than someone who truly wants to help in catching the criminal.
Upon Cherry’s first day out in the field, she spots a blue speck that doesn’t belong in a landscape—in a sea of browns and greens. With her curiosity peaked, she heads over to investigate what is assumed to be a piece of trash. Soon, she discovers a blue ball cap and then a body. While Cherry’s intentions are typically good, her gut instinct has always led her to sniff out the truth—no matter the costs. Since everyone is going hunting, her commission coming from the winner’s portrait being painted, Cherry fears that the Hogzilla might not be the only thing that is being hunted.
Reinhart has a vast array of personalities and she does a superb job with character development as well as credibility. As this story reaches its climax, so many factors are thrown into the mix which always leaves this mystery—well, a mystery. It is not difficult to identify reasons to why everyone may have an investment in murdering another local…could a secret have been learned? Could Mr. Spencer have walked in on something? Could he be that notoriously disliked? After two more bodies are found through the hunting excursion, Cherry is determined more than ever to find the one responsible.
With such a charismatic and practical Nancy Drew plot, the author is leading her readers into a basic murder investigation; however, the wonder and curiosity will always be the same—interest and general curiosity. Reinhart has a compelling novel that will leave readers with the desire to read through the entire investigation, until the suspect is found. If you are a reader of mystery, this may be an interest to you. The Body in the Landscape is the fifth installment in the Cherry Tucker Mysteries; however, it can be read as a standalone for those who want to pick up their copy.
A free copy was exchanged for an honest review of this fictional piece.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A 2015 Georgia Author of the Year finalist for best mystery, best-selling author Larissa Reinhart writes with a particular focus on sassy female characters with a penchant for trouble. Find her at larissareinhart.com and sign up for her e-newsletter (http://smarturl.it/larissanewsletter) for reader news and giveaways. She’s also active on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/RisWrites), Instagram (http://instagram.com/larissareinhart), and has an active friendly street team she calls Mystery Minions on a private Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/myste…).
Look for Larissa and her family on HGTV’s House Hunters International in the “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya, Japan” episode, airing August 31 and again on October 21, 2016.
Larissa writes the Maizie Albright Star Detective and the Cherry Tucker Mystery series. The first Maizie Albright mystery, 15 MINUTES, will debut winter 2017. The first in the Cherry Tucker series, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY (2012), is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. The sixth mystery, A COMPOSITION IN MURDER, releases November 15, 2016, with a novella, THE VIGILANTE VIGNETTE, in the cozy mystery anthology, MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES, out September 15, 2016.
Larissa considers herself lucky to have taught English in Japan, escaped a ferocious monkey in Thailand, studied archaeology in Egypt, and survived teaching high school history in the US. However, adopting her daughters from China has been her most rewarding experience. After growing up in the Midwest and spending her adult years in Georgia, she’s back in Nagoya, Japan with her husband, daughters, the occasional fish, and Biscuit, a Cairn Terrier.