Put Out to Pasture
by Amanda Flower
Since I enjoy Amanda Flower’s cozy mysteries, I left the first one in her new series Farm to Table Mysteries scratching my head in wonderment that this book, although satisfactory, was just not up to the standards I expect from this author. Fortunately, the first book was just a rough patch as she got started on the series. The second book, Put Out to Pasture, is everything I want in a cozy.
Flower turned around the pervasive and ugly negativity that permeated Shiloh’s return to her home town of Cherry Glen in Michigan from L.A. In this story there continue to be antagonists, but not everyone is pitted against Shi. When a dead body is found on her farm and her best friend Kristy is accused of the murder, Shi is doggedly determined to clear her name. There are a lot of clues that lead Shi and the reader to suspect various people. Having spent years with the Hollywood crowd, Shi knows that many seemingly good people may just be good actors.
Meanwhile, on the personal front, Shi’s best and favorite sidekick, her pug Huckleberry, continues to bring humor through Shi’s descriptions of what he appears to be thinking. She continues to clean out her grandmother’s cabin and finds a note to her with a mysterious riddle. She has a new neighbor who at first appears to be a bright light, but later seems to have greedy intentions. Shi’s deceased boyfriend’s best friend is working through the deaths of his friend and his own wife. Hazel, his daughter continues to be a breath of fresh air as the tween struggles to find a new normal with her firefighter dad’s erratic schedule and her grandmother’s protective strictness. Shi’s father, who was immersed in his Michigan history collection for most of Shi’s life might be coming out of his shell.
In this book, Shi is a likable character and we can see potential for her goals of revitalizing the family farm. The story is fast-paced with a web of threads and interesting characters. The author ends by dangling several hooks, any one of which is sufficient to reel the reader into the next book in the series.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Poisoned Pen Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #2 in the Farm to Table Mystery Series, but can certainly be read as a standalone.
Publication: February 22, 2022—Poisoned Pen Press
The one anomaly in the gravel lot was my car, an expensive sports car that would be as practical in a Michigan winter as a snow blower was in LA.
“She seems calm to me.” “That doesn’t mean she’s not mad. Trust me, I know. When she is really, really mad she gets cold. She’s like the iceberg that took out the Titanic.”
“I think the thing I got most out of my parents’ death is cutting people a break. You don’t know what they have been through or are going through. Everyone could use a little kindness.”