It has been quiet in Bar Harbour since Hayley cleared her name, but that peace and quiet is seriously rocked when Hayley learns that country superstar Wade Springer is coming to Bar Harbour for two benefit concerts to support the work of the local university. Hayley is a huge (okay super huge) fan of Wades and the prospect of him coming to town has her acting like a love-struck teenager - and she will do almost anything to meet him. When she learns that he has fired his personal chef it seems like the perfect opportunity for Hayley to meet him, after all she is a fantastic cook (even if she does say so herself). But landing the gig is only the start of her adventure with Wade, because in very short order one of his entourage is found murdered on one of the tour buses!
Suddenly their quiet little town doesn't seem so quiet, and fingers are pointing in all directions. Mickey Pritchett was a low life who took advantage of people, but he was still part of Wade's team and his death was just part of the puzzle - lots of people hated or disliked Mickey but did anything of them loath him enough to kill him? To make matters worse there is a thief working their way through Bar Harbour who is helping themselves to whatever takes their fancy, and while crime reporter Bruce Linney is pretty sure he has the culprit in his sights, things are not that always that simple. With all that is going on it is not surprising that Hayley feels a little frazzled - she is juggling two jobs, her daughter has an older boyfriend, her best friend is keeping secrets, and her boyfriend Lex is away - but she still manages to get herself caught up in the middle of not one but two mysteries. Can Hayley solve the mysteries before it is too late?
Death of a country fried redneck is a rollicking adventure full of charm, warmth, and just enough family mayhem to keep the story grounded and believable. Hayley is the perfect heroine because she is not the perfect heroine - she doesn't have supermodel good looks, she isn't skilled in martial arts, and her hectic family life barely leaves enough time for her to draw breath let alone spend hours poring over clues and solving the mystery. One of the most charming aspects of Hayley and her world is just how real it is - you can't help but connect with Hayley because she is so real, someone you could see living down the road from you. Her world is populated with people who are just as believable, right down to the challenges of balancing a large family, or learning a new language and getting the words a little tangled up some times.
I wasn't sure if I was going to keep reading the Hayley mysteries, I have a lot of other books to read and other series I am hooked on, but I couldn't resist dipping back into her world - and I am glad I did! The first book in a series can sometimes be a fluke, a cute concept that appeals because it is new and fresh, but flails in later books because the concept becomes same-old-same-old. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the new adventures of Hayley were as good as the previous adventure of Hayley, and that while she got into familiar feeling scrapes and close calls, they weren't exactly the same as what happened in the first book.
Lee Hollis is the pen name for siblings Rick Copp and Holly Simason and it is clear they have a really good writing chemistry and I look forward to reading more books in the Hayley mysteries series - because if they are all even half as good as book one and book two then we are all in for a treat.
If you like this book then try:
- Death of a kitchen diva by Lee Hollis
- Dipped, stripped, and dead by Elise Hyatt
- French polished murder by Elise Hyatt
- Books can be deceiving by Jenn McKinlay
- One for the money by Janet Evanovich
- Murder past due by Miranda James
Reviewed by Brilla