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Neighbors To Die For–motivation for murder

Neighbors To Die For

by Linda Lovely

This cozy mystery begins with an intimidating list of characters, but the author notes “No worries. You’ll meet them gradually.” That is in fact what happens. I had no trouble keeping up with the characters who are well-described and interesting. The protagonists are all associated with the Welch HOA Management Company. Most of them are older adults. Ted Welch owns the company, and Kylee Kane is his security consultant. Both are retired government employees. Grant, Ted’s son, is home from the Citadel for Thanksgiving vacation. Kylee’s mom Myrtle is a retired nurse who also works for the company. Many of the issues brought to the HOA’s are minor like the color of landscaping materials, but it doesn’t stay that way!

The story is narrated by these characters and by one other mysterious individual who is represented by the term “The Leader.” He has a nefarious plan, but to distance himself from  criminal activities he hires three not very bright thugs. He calls  himself Q. The plot moves along quickly with fairly short chapters that will keep you turning pages as the protagonists rescue a group abandoned overnight on an island and trace down others who have been kidnapped. Is the Leader really part of Neuter1, an environmental terrorist group, or is that camouflage to deceive his thugs and others? To what lengths will the Leader go to cover up his activities? 

Neighbors To Die For is a fun cozy mystery with a South Carolina Lowcountry setting. If you are interested in yachts, there are descriptions of various types. The book has interesting characters and the perfect amount of adventure right up to the end. When the major threads are tied up, there are still a few surprises for the reader.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #2 in the HOA Mystery Series, but I read it as a standalone with no problems.

    2. It contains some profanity, more than is typical in a cozy mystery.

Publication:  November 8, 2022—Level Best Books

Memorable Lines:

No one makes a sound. We barely dare to breathe. It is so quiet I imagine I could hear dust bunnies doing a dance routine.

“…your dad and I always preached that when you see wrongs, keeping silent, doing nothing is the same as giving your blessing.”

“How come I always have to chop onions?”  “We’ve shed a lot more tears than you,” Mom replies. “Onions let you catch up without any of the heartache.”

Lowcountry Bookshop–good intentions

Lowcountry Bookshop

by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry BookshopIn Lowcountry Bookshop, Susan M. Boyer outdoes her last cozy mystery which I thought was  good. In this book Liz Talbot and her husband Nate, both private investigators, are hired anonymously through an attorney to prove the innocence of a very sweet mail carrier who stopped at the scene of a hit and run. The plot is very complex and involves a group of women who try to help victims of domestic violence.

Watching Liz and Nate go about their business of investigating the crime and the people involved is very interesting. They have tools, disguises, and methods that they use to pursue the truth regardless of where it leads them.

In the middle of some pretty intense scenarios, there is a little comic relief as Liz’s family deals with a situation involving a Bassett hound, a pig with a broken leg, three escape artist goats, and a backyard dug in preparation for a swimming pool. As you can imagine, “Mamma ain’t happy” and everyone knows it.

Set in the Charlestown area of South Carolina, Lowcountry Bookshop features heat, humidity, and Southern charm. This mystery will keep you on your toes as you follow its complexities and guess who did it and why—right up until the end.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery

Notes: 1.  #7 in the Liz Talbot Mystery Series but works as a standalone

2.  Slight paranormal aspect: One character is a helpful guardian spirit. Frankly, she contributes little to the solving of the mystery and could easily be removed without harming the plot.

Publication:   May 29, 2018—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

Sunday morning arrived on air as thick as mamma’s gravy.

At five in the morning, it was already eighty-three degrees.

Everyone had baggage. Some of us had heavier bags than others.

Lowcountry Bonfire–is it a paranormal?

Lowcountry Bonfire

by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry BonfireWhen is a paranormal not a paranormal? When it is part of the Liz Talbot Mystery Series. When it deals with ghosts who are not angels of any type, but are guardian spirits. When the guardian spirits have a mission assigned by the Almighty, not the devil. When the town psychic doesn’t tell fortunes, but does share gut feelings about people.

Lowcountry Bonfire takes place in a small South Carolina town where everybody knows everybody else, iced tea and fried foods reign, and houses are built a story above ground level to avoid water damage. Liz Talbot and her husband Nate are private investigators working on contract for the local police department headed by Liz’s brother Blake. When Tammy Sue learns her husband Zeke has been cheating on her, she sets his classic car on fire. With the neighborhood watching, a corpse is found, and in the course of the investigation Liz discovers she does not know her neighbors as well as she thought.

Author Susan M. Boyer has developed a good plot with interesting characters. Many are suspected of murder with a surprise ending ahead. The semi-paranormal aspect was initially puzzling. As this is the sixth book in the series, I assume the guardian spirit’s presence was explained thoroughly in an earlier book. Not normally a paranormal reader, I did not find that aspect bothersome in a demonic sense; it’s a fictional tool whose purpose is to add a comedic touch. I would compare it to Shakespeare’s use of Falstaff.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery

Notes: #6 in the Liz Talbot Mystery Series

Publication: June 27, 2017—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

“It’s hard to believe anyone in this town is that isolated.”
“Small towns can be the loneliest places on earth if you feel like you’re on the outside looking in at all that closeness.”

“I told him he didn’t pay me enough for how hard I worked. He said if I was more contentious I might get a raise. We went back and forth a while.” I rolled my lips in and out, nodded. Zeke must’ve told him to be more conscientious. Good grief.

“People often do things that make no sense to the rest of us,” she said. “The challenge is to love them anyway.”

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