reviewed by Gail Byrd
It’s raining fish and body parts, preceded by a loud boom that rattles the teeth, the roof, and the windowsills. A minor occurrence compared to dealing with a teenager who just discovered the cabin, her home for the next month, comes with no running water, bad enough, and no telephone or internet, a complete disaster.
Tess, mother of said teenager, successful mystery author, and owner of a mystery author’s overactive imagination, assures Gertie, teenager in question, that it’s not the end of the world and will be a good experience for them. Gertie, of course, has her doubts.
This is the beginning of Tamara Berry’s newest book Buried in a Good Book, and sets the reader up for what to expect of the book itself. Tess, recently divorced from a man who in the six months since the divorce hasn’t bothered to call or email his daughter, not even in response to her messages. It’s Tess’ hope that Gertie will be able to forget the total disinterest being shown by her father as they immerse themselves in this rustic atmosphere.
While things remain rustic regarding these more modern conveniences, the intrigue takes off like a well-laid bonfire. As might be said of many mystery writers, Tess is blessed with an overactive imagination and frequently strays off into creating scenes for a new book based on what she is experiencing. Her experiences are rich when you consider the meeting she has with the sheriff which results in several deputies assigned to protect the cabin and its occupants, the sheriff’s reactions when she shares her increasingly outlandish theories regarding the dead body in her pond, and the friendship that springs up between Tess and Nikki, the bookmobile driver.
As Tess’ imagination takes flight with various solutions to the local murder, it expands with local sightings of bigfoot, three toucans that fly from a tree near the forest, and a colorful old woman from town who swears someone has stolen her cat. Since no one ever saw her with a cat, her complaint is discounted by the sheriff. Tess is curious about the description of the animal itself and weaves its description into the theory she is creating regarding how all these things come together.
Tess takes all these disparate occurrences and weaves them together into one plot that explains the murder and includes her explanation of who is responsible for the other strange occurrences in town. She is flexible enough to change her theory when she thinks she’s on the wrong track, but the solution is still rejected by the sheriff as being too outlandish. As the sheriff becomes more resistant to Tess’ theories, they become more outlandish. She also uses them to write her next novel, and at times has to stop and acknowledge that some of the things she writes would not happen in real life; a source of constant irritation between Tess and the sheriff.
There are numerous twists and turns throughout the book, some humorous and others not, that pull the reader through the book. The plot is quick, well written, and provides a significant element of fun. The characters are unique and well crafted, providing the reader with descriptions that enable them to imagine exactly how these people look, move, and behave. There is plenty of humor to keep the reader amused and at the same time a good puzzle for them to solve. It’s a satisfying read, whether the reader decides to read straight through on in spurts during vacation or an extended plane/train ride.
My thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of this book for this review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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