Ghost or no ghost, time is of the essence. After all, re-election isn’t far away and Kenni doesn’t want to look for a new job anytime soon.
If there's one thing I love more than a good cozy mystery, it's the state of Kentucky, where my family lives. So cozy mystery set in Kentucky, by an author from Kentucky? Now, I might be tempted to give Fixin' to Die, of the new "Kenni Lowry Mystery" series by Tonya Kappes a couple of stars for those facts alone. But the book more than stands on its own merits, and looks to be a great start to a new series for Ms. Kappes.
Most people still see law enforcement as a 'man's job', so the fact that Kenni is female and was elected sheriff in the small town of Cottonwood is great news. Of course it helped that her maternal grandfather was the former sheriff, and Kenni seems to have picked up some of his investigative skills. But she can go one better. She has the ghost of her grandfather (Poppa) helping her out. First he scared away the miscreants, keeping the first couple years on the job none too stressful. Now he gives her the benefit of his experience on the job.
The occasional appearance of the ghost of Poppa is handled perfectly. Some people believe in ghosts and some do not. Some literature goes way out on the limb with the paranormal, almost giving caricatures of ghosts. Not so in Fixin' to Die. I'm not claiming to believe or disbelieve, but I know there are more things in the world than can be explained away by science. Ghost or no, Poppa is a wonderful character.
I also appreciated the liberal sprinkling of pop culture references. There were of course the numerous movies shown at Luke's place. And my head went to the right place when I saw "Earl Grey. Hot," before that particular reference was spelled out at the beginning of a chapter.
People from small towns are quite adept at getting things done, even when they have to get creative. Movies were shown in the basement of Luke's house up against a screen, or when that was not available for some reason, against a sheet. The sheriff's office was in some back rooms off a local diner. When the doctor lost his driver's license (due to age-related causes), he set up shop in his home.
I'm excited to see what is next for Sheriff Kenni Lowry and the wonderful small town of Cottonwood...and her new deputy, of course. ;)
MEET THE AUTHOR
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR!
1. Have you always lived in Kentucky?
I have! I grew up in Nicholasville, which is in Central Kentucky right next to Lexington. I moved to Northern Kentucky twenty years ago for a job. I'm trying to get back to my hometown one day.
2. How's Charlie doing these days?
Awe! Thank you for asking about him. He is such a trooper. Right?!! He is doing so well. For the past two years I've been nursing him from his Congestive Heart Failure, so the amputation was definitely an uexpected hit for us. He had a team of doctors there during his surgery. His cardiologist along with an amazing anesthesiologist. They made sure his heart stayed in check while they put him under for the amputation. I'm blessed they got all the cancer. Last week we went back for his six month cardiologist appointment and his heart has shrank back to normal! They call him Charlie the Wonder Dog!
3. You write a lot of (really great) books! How do you keep up the pace?
I'm pretty fortunate that this is my full time job and passion. I get up in the morning like I'm going to a job and start at My children are also young men now (22, 18, 18, and 17) so as long as I have food in the house, they let me work. Family comes first so they are a priority.
4. How do you pick out character names?
Oh! Actually, most of the character names in my novels have come from people who have crossed by path. In fact, the small town and people in Fixin' To Die are dedicated to Nicholasville.
5. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love all animals and would rescue any! Then....when I realized you had to "put them to sleep" I knew it wasn't the job for me. So I got a degree in education, taught school for a couple of years before I went back to get my child therapy license. I loved doing that until writing took over full time.
6. If you could invite any writer from history to your house for a backyard barbecue (or high tea, etc.), whom would you invite?
I would invite Arthur Con Doyle only for the fact that I want to know all the ways he killed people and how he thought of those ingenious ways!
7. Re: #6, what would you talk about?
Hahhaa! It's in my answer in #5.
8. If Fixin' to Die were made into a movie, who would be in your dream cast?
I would love to have Alexis Bledel as the Kenni. I think she'd make a fun sleuth. For Finn....I'm not sure. Just someone hunky and sweet.
9. Would you want to write the screenplay?
Why? I would not! Those are so difficult and quick. I love to write and mix words. Screenplays are hard for me to communicate the idea in my head. I'd have to just write it all out.
10. What would you like your readers to take away from Fixin' to Die?
A good time! I started writing to help ONE reader escape the daily grind in their life. I want that one reader to walk away forgetting the stress of the day or even if they had a great day that I added to it. It's that simple for me.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)