Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, to all my Favorite Readers–You!
Title: Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Women Sleuths
Publication Date: October 31, 2018
Page Length: 255 pages
Title and Cover: Oh Holy Fright-That cover will get you
It’s Christmas in Pecan Bayou, Texas. Join Betsy (aka The Happy Hinter) for a good old small-town Christmas complete with Christmas carols, over the top light displays, delicious food, loving friends and…a Christmas Creeper. One of the residents of Pecan Bayou has a secret and you’d better lock the door because that isn’t Santa out there or even a stray elf. Enjoy spending Christmas with the town and family you’ve come to know in the Pecan Bayou Series. Recipes and helpful hints included!
Cute cozy with a curious concept! Yay, another cozy with an atypical plot! Betsy Livingston, the local paper’s “Happy Hinter” of rural, small-town Pecan Bayou, Texas is preparing for Christmas with her blended family. (Another plus, unusual family setting, low-key on the romance angle and sexual tension.) Part of her extended family also includes a neurologically handicapped family member, everyone is preparing for Christmas, contending with an off-key, ear-splitting soloist in the choir, and confronting a Christmas Creeper.
Unfortunately, a beloved mailman is murdered in the street which may implicate her aunt Maggie as she recently armed herself against the intruder. In the middle of it all, an instant Christmas store hawking super sales on coveted technical or electronic gift items, including Play Stations, and have her boys on a Christmas campaign.
There are enough threads here to keep you busier than a one-armed paper-hanger, yet the well-plotted mystery dragged somewhat for me. I appreciated the focus on the family situation since that scenario is quite common as well as the sympathetic and sensitive handling of Down’s Syndrome, Danny, whose sweet character was well developed. There is humor in the strangest situations and that was another takeaway, also appreciated.
What had me scratching my head was the obtuseness of the characters, including (once again) the local constabulary. Some of this stuff is pretty obvious so there are few surprises. The narrative examines reverse mortgages and the financial plight of the elderly, as well as offspring with drug problems and exes, the push to get the little ones out to sell subscriptions, scammers, and counterfeit money.
This is book 8 of the series, but I felt could easily work as a standalone as we see enough fleshing to understand the major characters and those who have reoccurring roles. We received this free download through BookBub and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I say “we” as I thought it might be one my associate reviewer would also enjoy. (His review appeared on Goodreads, November 28, 2018, I’ve since combined.)
Combining small-town drama with mystery and suspense makes this read a hoot. A bit of Nancy Drew meets Perry Mason. Predictable but with some good belly laughs along the way. CE Williams 4/5 stars
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
The Author: Teresa Trent writes the Piney Woods and the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series from Houston, Texas where she loves the people and even the weather. Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD. Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her. Even though she lives in the big city, her writing is influenced by all of the interesting people she finds in small towns and the sense of family that is woven through them all. ©2018 V Williams