Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Killer Jam (A Dewberry Farm Mystery)

Author:  Karen MacInerney
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback, (ebook)
ISBN #: 9781503945463
Thomas & Mercer
272 Pages
$11.99 Amazon ($4.99 Kindle)
July 28, 2015

Five Stars

When Houston reporter Lucy Resnick cashes in her retirement to buy her grandmother's farm in Buttercup, Texas, she's looking forward to a simple life as a homesteader.  But Lucy has barely finished putting up her first batch of Killer Dewberry Jam when an oil exploration truck rolls up to the farm and announces plans to replace her broccoli patch with an oil derrick.  Two days later, Nettie Kocurek, the woman who ordered the drilling, turns up dead at the Founders' Day Festival with a bratwurst skewer through her heart and one of Lucy's jam jars beside her...and the sheriff fingers Lucy as the prime suspect.

Horrified, Lucy begins to talk to Nettie's neighbors, but the more she gets to know the townspeople, the more she realizes she's not the only one who had a beef with Nettie.  Can she clear her name, or will her dream life turn into a nightmare?


Lucy Resnick has recently purchased her grandmother's farm from Nettie Kocurek, who bought it fifteen years ago.  Just as she's settling in, an oil exploration truck shows up and tells her that although she bought the land, she didn't buy the mineral rights and Nettie still owns them...and has ordered the drilling, which could destroy Lucy's farm.  And even though they tell her they'll repair any damage, the short term devastation could ruin her financially.  So Lucy confronts Nettie at the Founders' Day Festival, but Nettie ignores her and turns up dead later that day, a portion of one of Lucy's jam jars found next to her.  Unfortunately, Lucy has two things against her:  Nettie's nephew is the sheriff, and she's a newcomer, so he's decided she's the killer, but can't prove it - yet.  

Lucy knows she didn't kill Nettie, but hasn't any idea who did, and sets out to find the real killer since it appears she isn't getting any help from the sheriff's department.  Along the way she compiles her own list of suspects, which could be anyone, and it seems everyone in town had a reason to hate Nettie, including her own daughter.  As Lucy gets closer to finding the killer, she also gets closer to putting herself in the running as prime candidate of Nettie's killer.

Along with trying to solve the murder, Lucy is beginning to have feelings for the town's veterinarian, Tobias, and noticing that other strange things are happening - farm animals taking ill, farm equipment damaged - among other things, and Lucy stumbles into something that could cost her not only her farm, but also her life.

Which gives us an intriguing mystery.  And this book gives me what I like best:  an old mystery cradled inside a new one.  For within the mystery of who killed Nettie, we find an even older mystery that reveals itself to Lucy piece by piece; one that connects Lucy's grandparents to Nettie's parents and grandparents, and Nettie herself; a mystery that has been unsolved for years without any clues.  

This is what truly makes this book outstanding.  Ms. MacInerney has given us a tale of greed, love, hatred and revenge that is truly a compelling read, one that is put together seamlessly with the pieces meshing perfectly.  I hope this series goes on for a very long time.  Highly recommended.

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