Thursday, May 2, 2019

Ripe for Vengeance (A Greenhouse Mystery Book 5)

Author:  Wendy Tyson
Genre:   Mystery

Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #  9781635114911
Henery Press Publishing
286 Pages
$15.95 Amazon
July 16, 2019


It's late spring in Winsome, and Washington Acres is alive with the sights and sounds of farm life.  the flowers are blossoming, the vegetable gardens are thriving, the pollinators are buzzing, and the Pennsylvania countryside has fully awakened from its deep winter slumber.  Only this season, rebirth comes with a price.

College friends of Megan's beau, the handsome veterinarian Dr. Denver Finn, are in Winsome for a corporate volunteer event.  They will be mentoring troubled kids from a nearby school during a hiking and camping trip.  When one of Dr. Finn's friends is murdered at the state park, a student -- a boy with a brutal history -- becomes the prime suspect.

With a teen's life at stake, Megan digs into the victim's past to clear the boy's name.  She learns that the victim sowed conflict wherever he went.  As Megan worms her way closer to the truth, she realizes her own life is at stake, as well as the lives of those she loves.


Megan Sawyer owns an organic farm in Winsome, Pennsylvania, along with a café and small store in town.  Her boyfriend, Dr. Daniel "Denver" Finn is the local veterinarian, and Megan is nervous about meeting his friends from college, who are there for a retreat weekend with troubled teens.

But before this occurs, she's called out on an emergency to meet Denver and police chief Bobby King.  It seems someone has abandoned a poor pot-bellied pig in a storage unit, and she's been living there and is in need of care.  Megan offers to care for her; it attests to the fact that she has a kind heart, which comes into play later in the story.

When she meets Denver's friends, she discovers that all five - Jatin, Xavier, Barbara, Chase, and Martine - work for the same pharmaceutical company, BOLD, and wanted Denver to join but his life took a different path (one she's grateful for).  It's also obvious that they aren't really interested in being there, but were more or less recruited by Barbara because their boss Harriet wanted them to do it.

Also, Denver's Aunt Eloise has taken in one of the troubled teens, Dillon.  It seems Dillon's mother is dead and his father is in prison for the crime, and it affected him greatly (as it would) because he saw what happened when he was only twelve.  But Eloise believes this will be a good exercise for him, and sends him off with Megan and Denver, who will drop him at the camp.

But both Megan and Denver have misgivings about it, and it turns out that they should have listened to their inner selves: things go horribly wrong when they discover Chase has been stabbed while in the woods, and Dillon was found nearby screaming, holding the murder weapon.  While the police don't have enough to arrest him, most everyone thinks he's guilty.  While even Denver has doubts, Eloise doesn't believe it, and Megan only wants to find the truth.

But what is the truth?  When one of the five - Martine Pringle - meets with Megan she tells her bits and pieces about Chase and the company, and it's apparent to Megan that Denver doesn't like Martine at all, but he won't tell her why.  And when her grandmother Bibi takes a liking to the boy, she also becomes convinced that Dillon is innocent.

Now Megan needs to sift through everything and try to discover who had the most to gain by Chase's death.  But with so many suspects Megan's running against time to find out why Chase was killed, and who hated him enough to do it...

I absolutely loved this book.  While it is the fifth in the series, it can be read as a stand alone, as the author doesn't confuse us by referencing other books (aside from one sentence), and enough information is given on the characters so anyone who has not read the others will not be lost.

I do like the fact that Megan thinks before she acts.  She's smart, fiercely loyal, and always believes in doing the right thing.  She's no shrinking violet, and she doesn't rush headlong into situations that can put her in danger.

Her relationship with Denver is as solid as they come, and although she's working through personal issues, she nevertheless lets him know that he is the only one she wants.  She loves her grandmother Bibi as well and it shows; and she depends on both her farm and café staff to help her keep things running smoothly; this is a good group of people who truly care about each other.  She even has a fondness for Bobby King, and I love the fact that there isn't an 'evil nemesis' in these books.  (It can get tiresome when someone is out to destroy your life on a constant basis).  It makes for an easy read where you can concentrate on the mystery instead of being irritated at various points throughout the book.

The murder began fairly early, which was a good thing, and I found it mesmerizing, to say the least.  The story line was done very well and and I found myself drawn into the mystery effortlessly.  Little do we know that finding a pig will lead to both an ending and a beginning, and even somewhere in between.

Ms. Tyson is a talented storyteller that knows how to take many threads and weave them together skillfully into an intriguing tapestry of murder, greed, jealousy, cunning, and even hope.  She does this with aplomb, giving us a suspenseful tale that will have you riveted to the tale until you reach the end.

There is no dearth of suspects nor of red herrings, and what seems to be may not be at all.  While there is a sense of loss for what once was, we understand that rarely does anything stay the same, while seeing that things are not always as they seem.

When the ending comes and the killer is revealed, it comes as a bit of a surprise but misdirection is applied quite nicely, and it only adds to the satisfaction of knowing that what we've just read is indeed a wonderful book.  This is a worthy addition to the series and I look forward to reading the next.  Highly recommended.


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