A Book Barn Mystery
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
When kindergarten teacher Charli Rae Warren hightailed it out of Hazel Rock, Texas, as a teen, she vowed to leave her hometown in the dust. A decade later, she’s braving the frontier of big hair and bigger gossip once again . . . but this time, she’s saddled with murder!
Charli agrees to sell off the family bookstore, housed in a barn, and settle her estranged dad’s debt—if only so she can ride into the sunset and cut ties with Hazel Rock forever. But the trip is extended when Charli finds her realtor dead in the store, strangled by a bedazzled belt. And with daddy suspiciously MIA, father and daughter are topping the most wanted list . . .
Forging an unlikely alliance with the town beauty queen, the old beau who tore her family apart, and one ugly armadillo, Charli’s intent on protecting what’s left of her past . . . and wrangling the lone killer who’s fixin’ to destroy her future . . .
First book in A Book Barn Mystery series!
Fatal Fiction is easy to read, but the humor is not the type I enjoy. Charlie Rae is a hard character to like or relate to (at least for me). She is either overreacting, acting idiotic, or admiring some man’s physique (or thinking about his kisses, touching him, etc.). Charlie Rae acted like an escaped psychiatric patient off her meds (especially after she finds the body). Charlie Rae is a college graduate and in her early 30s. I just expect more intelligence and adult behavior from her. I felt that there was too much quirkiness in the book. There is the pink armadillo (shop mascot), Charlie Rae’s uncooperative hair (mentioned more than once), Scarlet Jenkins who is always perfectly turned out and lives in an airstream behind her shop, the bouquets for Marlene that block the entrance to the store (and she feels she cannot move them aside so she can open the doors), Charlie Rae’s lack of clothing to wear while in town, and let us not forget Mr. Perfect—Cade. I only provided a few examples (I could go on). I give Fatal Fiction 2.5 out of 5 stars (I did not like it). The mystery was the best part of the book (and the only reason I kept reading). Many readers will not be able to figure out who killed Marlene. The mystery plays out over the course of the book (there is no real investigation and few clues). I liked that the book setting is a bookstore, but I just felt that Ms. Roberts needed to dial back the eccentric and silliness (at least for me).
Very enjoyable read!! Small town cozy mystery with the perfect amount of twists and turns to keep you guessing and wanting more. Charli was a great character and you could feel her frustration with being back in Hazel Rock and the current situation. Returning was never in her plan. Happy and content as a teacher in Colorado is where she wants to be but with her father missing and a murder to solve Hazel Rock is where she is stuck. The townspeople are hilarious and all the secondary characters are well developed which should give us many more great stories in the series.
Definitely a recommended read.