Monday, December 28, 2015

Death Crashes the Party (A Liv and Di in Dixie Mystery)

Author:  Vickie Fee
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback; E-book
ISBN #:  9781496700629
Kensington Publishing
304 Pages
$7.99; $5.84 Kindle
December 29, 2015
Four Stars

In the quirky, close-knit town of Dixie, Tennessee, party planner Liv McKay has a knack for throwing Southern-style soirees, from diamonds-and-denim to black tie affairs, and her best friend Di Souther mixes a mean daiquiri.  While planning a Moonshine and Magnolias bash for high maintenance clients, Liv inconveniently discovers a corpse in the freezer and turns her attention from fabulous fetes to finding a murderer.  Together, Liv and Di follow a trail of sinister secrets in their sweet little town that leads them from drug smugglers to a Civil War battlefield, and just when they think they're whistling Dixie, Liv and Di will find themselves squarely in the crosshairs of the least likely killer of all...


Liv McKay is a party planner, the owner of Liv 4 Fun, and at the moment she's planning a fortieth wedding anniversary party for the wealthy Erdmans.  But when she checks the freezer in their shed to see if it will hold the requested ice sculptures, she finds a dead body...and backing up, trips over another one, dressed in a Confederate uniform.  With the Erdmans prostrate over the discovery, it is left to Liv to call the local sheriff, 'Dave' Davidson, and inform him of what has happened.  Dave is also seeing Liv's best friend, Di Souther, so what Dave knows, Di knows, or soon will. 

It also turns out that the dead men worked for Liv's husband, Larry Joe, at his (and his father Daddy Wayne's) trucking company.  With a personal stake in the murders and her husband and father-in-law being considered potential suspects, Liv does what any devoted wife would do:  she decides she's going to "help" the sheriff find the true killers.

But all is not what it seems.  It is soon also discovered that the dead men, Darrell and Duane Farrell, had a hand in something not so savory, drug trafficking and dealing in stolen goods.  And Liv, in her eagerness to clear her husband's family of any wrongdoing, could get herself killed also in the process.

For the most part, I enjoyed the book, and for a first effort it's pretty good.  Liv manages to juggle her business and her marriage easily, and her friendship with Di is worthwhile.  But I felt that she shouldn't have 'helped herself' to certain evidence, but told the sheriff about it instead, and I also thought it was odd that Dave just shared information regarding the murders with both Liv and Di.  It seemed to me that offering this info just basically told her it was alright for her to go ahead and 'help' with the investigation - given that two people were dead, why would she (or the sheriff) willingly put her in the way of a killer who was still on the loose?  It also seemed that with the FBI involved, she Wouldn't Want to Go There, but she did.  That bothered me.  

I also thought there were some things that didn't need to be added (do I really care if she chases a fly around her house?  No.) and I felt that the book needed more depth to it.  Although we meet the characters, we never really get to know them.  We do know that Liv and Larry Joe (that name!) love each other, but never really know why.  I'm hoping to learn more in later books.  However, the mystery was decent, and I think Ms. Fee could, in fleshing out the characters more in later books, continue this series for quite a while.   

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