Saturday, July 23, 2016

Planted by C. T. Collier - #review

Planted is book one of the new mystery series, The Penningtons Investigate, from award-winning author C. T. Collier. The Penningtons, Lyssa and Kyle, are both PhD’s, and when their clever minds start asking questions, clever killers can’t hide.

It’s Monday of spring break when Professor Lyssa Pennington’s backyard garden project unearths a loaded revolver. With no record of violence at their address and no related cold case, the Tompkins Falls police have no interest. But the Penningtons and a friend with the State Police believe there a body somewhere. Whose? Where? And who pulled the trigger?

The Penningtons’ canvass of their quiet neighborhood turns up disturbing secrets about the family who lived in their house for decades and another ill-fated family a few doors away. No one seems to know how to contact the only sons of either family. The few facts they have about them don’t add up and, since the gun was buried about the time both young men disappeared from Tompkins Falls, the Penningtons feel compelled to find them and make sure all is well.

Lyssa follows the money story and finds twenty million dollars, a neighbor who’s not what he seems, and a long-buried rivalry. Kyle goes after homicide data in six states and finds a body. Their next surprise is a murderer who will go to any length to conceal the crime.



Every since 'Tommy and Tuppence' of Agatha Christie fame, and 'Hart to Hart' on the tv (wow, does that date me!), I have loved couples who investigate together.  And I'm pleased to add Kyle and Lyssa Pennington to that list.  And more is the surprise for me, because since my college days, I've always been of the opinion that the higher up the post-secondary education ladder you go, the stuffier you get; I have rarely been happier to have a theory shot down!

Kyle and Lyssa don't mind getting their hands dirty.  Literally.  And it is in the first scene that the removal of a dead tree unearths a loaded pistol that had been buried in their back yard.  I'd be wondering 'WTH' too, and probably take the weapon to the police so they could check that it hadn't been used in any unsolved crimes.  (That's what I get for binge-watching NCIS and police procedurals on tv.)

The fact that both the Penningtons have PhD degrees tells me that they are determined and committed.  You have to be to spend that much time studying - I mean you've already had 12 years of public school,  4 years of undergraduate college, and then to pile advanced degrees on top?  You have to be dedicated and at least somewhat passionate about a topic.

My point is that they're going to find the answers to their questions, whether they get 'official help' or not.  Which of course will tick off the bad guys and those with secrets to keep hidden.  And who doesn't have one of those these days?

I am so glad that this is the start of a series, because I want to read more about the Penningtons and their methods of investigating.  (And not just because Lyssa finds $20 million!)

And, if I'm telling the truth, I wondered how a novel written by someone with so much education would read...would it be peppered with those big words that people like to throw out at parties?  But, "Happy day," Ms. Collier's style is extremely approachable.  I appreciate this so much because when I read a novel, I don't want to have to put my academic hat on.  Grab onto this new series and enjoy!



C. T. Collier grew up in Seneca Falls, NY, left the area for college and jobs, and always wanted to return to the Finger Lakes. Today she lives in a beautiful small city on one of the prettiest of the Finger Lakes, not unlike fictional Tompkins Falls on lovely Chestnut Lake. Most days you’ll find her writing in her tiny office looking out on a woods populated with fox, deer, wild turkeys, and songbirds. In her career as a tech-savvy college professor she has been endlessly fascinated with campus intrigue. Entirely fictional, Tompkins College is no college and every college.


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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers in exchange for my honest review.)


  1. Oh yes, this sounds good. Hart to Hart doesn't date you nearly as much as Nick and Nora Charles would ;-)