Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Framed to Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Vol. 4)

Author:  Christina Freeburn
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook
ISBN #:  9781635110166, 9781635110135
Henery Press
268 Pages
$31.95, $$15.95, $4.99 Amazon
April 26, 2016

Three Stars

Eden has turned into a hotspot of crime, and Faith finds herself smack dab in the middle of the flare-up.  When a favor for a friend links Faith to the synthetic marijuana problem invading her town, no good deed goes unpunished becomes the title of her life.  The town accuses the police of favoritism toward her, putting a strain between Faith and Ted, and a new officer is determined to prove Faith's guilt.  When the criminal is outed, Faith's relief is short-lived.  A fire takes out the store - along with the suspected dealer - and she's now number one on an officer's suspect list.  Faith sets out to prove her own innocence, and her digging sparks the truth to life.  Instead of the truth setting the town free, Faith finds out it might destroy Eden, the friends she holds dear, and smother out her own life.


Faith Hunter is asked by her friend Charlotte if she will check on Charlotte's daughter Hannah and see if everything is okay - it seems Hannah has some friends at Charlotte's business Polished, which is next door to Faith's business Scrap This.  Charlotte wants to make sure that Hannah doesn't have any boys there, so Faith agrees to pop in.  When she does, she finds some excitement - Hannah's friends Whitney and Kirstin are there, and Whitney appears to be fighting with Hannah.  Faith tries to break it up, but there are sounds of a police siren getting near, and the girls start to run - but not before one of them tries to grab a bag of potpourri, which Faith is pretty sure actually contains Janie, a form of synthetic marijuana that has been circulating around town.  As Faith grabs the bag, Whitney snaps a picture of her holding it, sprays her with pepper spray, and leaves before the officer enters the shop.  Not too long after that, the picture of Faith with the bag surfaces on Instagram, and there the trouble starts...

Everyone in town is sure that Faith is the drug dealer they've been looking for.  The one that caused a star football player, Brandon Sullivan, to have a car accident that ended his career...and they're ready to string her up for it.  When the supposed true drug dealer is found dead, Faith is off the hook - for now, but still has to clear her name and reputation, because one officer isn't sure she's in the clear, nor are the townspeople.

I will tell you that I have previously enjoyed Christina Freeburn's books, but I was not happy with the way this one started.  Supposedly, the people of Eden all know each other.  Then would someone please explain why, if this is so, that they would automatically believe Faith is guilty of dealing drugs?  Yes, there was a photo, but these people didn't even want her to explain.  They just wanted her convicted of drug dealing.    No one bothered to say, 'oh, no, I know Faith, she's just too decent a person to do anything like that, and there must be more to it.  What does this say about the people in the town?  Not much.  That was a big problem for me.  (Don't get me wrong, there were a few people who believed in her, but not enough that it mattered).  I think I would have enjoyed the book more if they weren't so ready to be judge and jury right at the get-go.

Fortunately, once I got past the first half of the book the rest improved, and the chase was on.  Faith is trying to find a killer and who's setting suspicious fires, even though she's constantly being warned away by both Detective Ted Roget and Steve Davis, her ex-boyfriend (and there's another story there, explored in previous books).    With illegal drugs, suspicious fires that could lead to insurance fraud, and people who wouldn't know the truth if it hit them in the face, there are plenty of red herrings and plenty of suspects, but when she starts to connect the dots and get too close to the truth, she could be putting someone else in danger beside herself.

The book had a strong finish, and of course, the truth finally came out.  While I was disappointed that no one in town ever apologized to her for treating her badly, I did feel that the book was well written and the plot extremely interesting.  This is the fourth book in the series, and as such, can be read as a stand alone, but if you want 'more of the story' then I would read the previous three.  All in all, a weak beginning but a strong ending makes for a decent book.

More on Christina Freeburn's books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/f/christina-freeburn/                                                                                

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