A Deadly Deletion
Booktown Mystery, Book #15
By Lorna Barrett
Author Website: lornabarrett(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
A murder leads to a string of shocking revelations for bookstore owner Tricia Miles in the latest entry to Lorna Barrett’s New York Times bestselling Booktown series.
Tricia Miles has just received a second marriage proposal within fifteen minutes. The first was from her friend with benefits, Marshall Chambers, and the second from her ex-lover, police chief Grant Baker. Tricia’s got some serious thinking to do.
She’s still weighing her options when she hears the sound of an engine roaring down Main Street. It’s a big white pickup truck that aims for and hits Marshall as he’s walking back to his apartment. Tragically, he’s killed, leaving Tricia feeling bereft and guilty. She retreats to her sister, Angelica’s, apartment to wait for Baker to update her on what happened. While there, Tricia takes Angelica’s dog out for a comfort call behind the building, and the same white pickup roars up the alley and just misses hitting Tricia.
Still shaken by that news, Tricia returns to Haven’t Got a Clue and is met by federal marshal Kirby, who tells her that Marshall had been in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Everything Marshall told Tricia was a lie–in particular, that he was a widower. Was his death an act of revenge?
Tricia’s on the hunt for a killer, and it seems like she might be next on the list. (Goodreads)
If you have enjoyed previous cozies in this series, run, don’t walk to get this one. I think it is the most explosive one, the one from which Tricia’s life will never be the same again. I was captivated by this complex mystery and would never have guessed who the real bad guy was. The descriptions of Stoneham, New Hampshire in autumn were so appealing, and each major character was defined well. Tricia, her family, and staff are engaging, a group anyone would be pleased to call her people.
It was Monday. Need I say more? Minutes after Tricia’s friend Marshall proposed to her and she told him she wanted time to think, he was dead, killed by a speeding pickup truck that purposely picked him off. Her former boyfriend and police chief, Grant, proposed to Tricia moments before the hit and run, but he was a few years too late. Then Tricia is almost run down by the same pickup truck when walking her sister’s pup.
For some, that might be too much drama to open a book with, but for me, it hit the ground running. And it simply gets more intense. A federal marshal came to see Tricia. The man she knew as Marshall was in witness protection and had been keeping a few secrets from her. The feds’ work with him was done when he breathed his last, so the local police would probably take charge of the investigation.
The next unwelcome visitor was Marshall’s ex-wife, Becca. Marshall had said his ex was a jogger and that she had died, but Becca was an internationally acclaimed tennis champion, very much alive and wanting to meet who she was being replaced with. A couple days later, Tricia’s sister Angelica’s daughter-in-law came home from picking up her toddler from daycare. Their home was on fire. Arson. They lost everything. Who is targeting Tricia’s family and friends? What else can possibly happen?
Tricia and Angelica are very different sisters. I like Tricia, but I just can’t warm up to Angelica. She is generous and helps those who have potential and work to fulfill it, yet she also seems arrogant and at times, meddling. I feel much more of a connection with Tricia, perhaps because of her love of mysteries, a fabulous bookstore, and Miss Marple, her cat. All the characters, including the suspects, are defined as well as necessary for their roles.
Almost every plot twist dealt another blow to Tricia and, at times, her family. Just when it seemed like there are no more surprises, another suspect is identified or another lie of Marshall’s is uncovered. I was totally stunned when the real bad guy was revealed. I appreciated how the author tied up all the loose ends and was, with one exception, satisfied with the outcome. I highly recommend this cozy mystery, especially to fans of the series, mystery bookstores, and intelligent, intuitive female protagonists.