Appalachian artist and local guide Miranda Trent opens a new murder investigation after her Paint & Shine tour group discovers the remains of a missing hiker along an ancient trail . . .
For her latest excursion, Miranda is thrilled to take a close-knit group of rock climbers, the Risky Business Adventurers, up the challenging Battleship Rock Trail to paint and sample moonshine. But the outing is cut short when they discover a skeleton near the trailhead. Even more startling, the bones belong to Howard Cable, Miranda’s cousin…and a former classmate of the Risky Business group.
The sheriff chalks it up to a hiking accident, but Miranda isn’t convinced that Howard, an experienced woodsman, died within sight of a well-marked trail. So, with the help of Ranger Austin Morgan, Miranda sets out on her own investigation and discovers that the Risky Business group is keeping plenty of secrets. But is one of them hiding the truth about Howard’s death?
Miranda Trent is a local guide who owns a business she calls Paint & Shine. She enjoys her tour groups and takes them out for scenic hikes where they are free to either paint or use a medium of their choice for landscapes. Now she is hoping to expand her business into brewing moonshine, a special family recipe that had quite the rep in its day.
This tour, however, of the Risky Business Adventures climbers gets cut short when they discover a skeleton shortly after the climb. Turns out the bones are that of a distant cousin and her aunt would like Miranda to find out what happened as this was clearly no accident.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the climb and scenic area of the Daniel Boone National Forest, although few of the climbers were fleshed. Also nice to get a “timeline” of the narrative with chapters giving the reader the progressive days, but it seemed a bit slow to get off the ground and then rather muddled in the investigation, doing an individual Google search of the Adventurers.
Miranda struggles with improvements to receive the equipment for the moonshine side of the business and Austin appears to be growing on her, although we don’t get enough development of Austin to complete his picture quite yet.
The conclusion rather side-swipes in catching the reader off-guard. Twists along the way derails thinking about the perp, but then he really wasn’t at the forefront anyway. Interesting insight into the business of moonshine and recipes at the back of the book.
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.
Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars
Genre: Cozy Craft & Hobby Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Kensington Books
Print Length: 281 pages
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Cheryl Hollon writes full time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India.
Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind their St. Petersburg, FL, 1920’s craftsman bungalow, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks and jewelry.
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