Pay Dirt Road
October 22, 2021

Book Review

Pay Dirt Road

reviewed by Eric Ellis

Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Allen follows twenty-something Annie McIntyre as she pitches in to solve the murder of a woman in the small Texas town of Garnett.

McIntyre, a recent college graduate, has returned home in an attempt to decide upon what future she wants to pursue. Working at a local diner, Annie becomes involved in several mysterious incidents, one of which causes deep-seated personal issues of her own to rise to the surface. These issues then force her to deal with a past she has so long preferred to push aside both on purpose and subconsciously.

At the diner working with Annie is Victoria, a single mother with a more exuberant lifestyle than Annie and more so than the local conservative Garnett residents care for. After Victoria is reported missing, with many not too concerned and believing she will just show up, Annie, with a familial criminal investigation pedigree and an internal knack for criminal investigations, joins with her grandfather and his private investigation business to start asking questions. Questions not only about Victoria but also another local mysterious killing, leading to the creation of unease among not only those responsible but from others as well.

From there, the novel, while not purely a police procedural or a cozy mystery, moves forward further developing characters and plot lines to a worthwhile conclusion.

Upon first reading a description of this novel, the novel was thought to be a gritty, country-noirish novel, however, it is not that and that is quite all right. Pay Dirt Road is a novel where the writer deftly introduces her characters and allows them to slowly develop and breathe. It is also with needed red herrings and a satisfying ending appearing to be more in line with good storytelling rather than shock and awe results and last page resolutions.

Pay Dirt Road does not contain graphic language or depictions of extreme violence or acts of sexuality.

Pay Dirt Road is recommended to those that enjoy blossoming character development with realistic plots that don’t rely upon extreme surprises to entice readers.

Pay Dirt Road is set to be published in April of 2022.

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