Publication March 14, 2023
When I last dropped in on Marla and husband Dalton, change was coming. This book, the 18th in the series, picks up a few months later. Dalton is retiring from the police force to, essentially, begin teaching his future replacements. Marla seems to have changed, too. Unlike the previous book, when she seemed perpetually exhausted and struggling to adapt to motherhood, she seems to have hit her stride. As the book opens, Marla and Dalton are on their way to tour a living history site near their home in Florida. All hopes for Dalton's last days as a detective being easy end when a dead body is found. Tomahawked to death, no less.
Determined to help ease her husband's burden during his waning career as an active detective, Marla sets out to help. After all, asking a few questions surely can't hurt, right? Wrong.
More often than not with young Ryder in tow, Marla revisits the pioneer site and begins asking questions of those who might be involved or know something. She's accompanied by step-daughter Brianna, who seems to be wonderful with and adore her much younger brother, and friend Susan. They raise a few ruffles as some of the questions aren't, well, always subtle. Should Marla be concerned when, say, a brawny blacksmith pulls out a heavy iron tool?
So, who killed Phil, who seemed to have his hands into many of the operating parts of the living history site? Marla and Dalton were there to watch a battle reenactment involving troops and the Seminoles when the murder happened. Can the fact the murder weapon was a personalized, decorated tomahawk be a clue? How about the small item discovered under the body? What personal relationships between those acting the historic roles might be important? And, yikes? Another murder? Someone shooting arrows at Marla? Her questions have obviously gotten too close for someone's comfort.
And, oh, that's enough teasers right now. Put this one on your TBR list. The various characters are people you could know, all with their own lives and stories. You'll like them. In addition, Marla is a strong female character, one determined not to put herself in danger but, well, life happens. I will note that her hair stylist job wasn't really involved in the story, but, dang, those recipes at the end are worth a trip to a stylist if they have those kind of recipes. I think you'll enjoy this story, which stands-alone nicely.
Thanks #NetGalley and#OrangeGrovePress for allowing me to revisit my ol' turf, Florida. I've never been to a reenactment there but have visited historic sites in their area, so it was a bit of a nostalgic visit for me.