A Hometown Homicide Mystery #2
City Lights Press, December 2019
From the publisher—
Paramedic and Afghanistan veteran Frankie McGill and resident deputy Gabe Zantos are caught up in a case of arson and murder. A house at the end of a country road has stood vacant for years, it’s occupants mice and the stray raccoon or two.
When the derelict house catches fire, the Hawkesford Fire Department responds because of the danger to the dry wheat fields surrounding it. But then two bodies are found in the ashes, along with evidence of a meth cooking operation. Gabe suspects gang rivalry.
Soon, an experienced welder dies in what appears at first to be a horrific accident at his lonely farm. A second house burns, and Frankie barely saves the elderly occupant. Then there’s the mysterious call over 911 that cries for help at an isolated ranch. There’s one thing ties these events together…
People like Frankie, whether fictional or real, interest me because I wonder why war veterans frequently seem to get into EMT work (or firefighting or law enforcement). Is it because of the adrenalin rush, having become accustomed to always being on high alert? The aspect of danger or maybe the real need to continue finding ways to serve the greater good? I wonder, too, how much harder it must be for someone like Frankie who suffers from a certain level of PTSD, not to mention physical disabilities. Whatever her reasons, Frankie is a stand-out character and she continues to show her strength and intelligence in this second novel.
Frankie’s roommate, Gabe, is a deputy sheriff so, when a suspicious fire leads to the discovery of bodies, the two work together to follow the trail of what seem to be the repercussions of a particularly ugly drug operation. Before long, though, it becomes obvious that further deaths will take them down another path altogether.
While Frankie is certainly a strong woman with plenty of resilience, she would find life much more difficult if it were not for the love and assistance of her dogs. Then there’s Gabe who clearly cares for Frankie, and she for him, but we’ll have to wait to see if that mutual caring will develop into something more. I can only hope 😃
One further note: besides reading the print edition, I also listened to the audiobook. I thought that Gail Shalan’s tone was a little lightweight, almost like a teenager’s voice, but I still enjoyed her narration of the story.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, December 2020.