Family Matters, by Laurinda Wallace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
BOOK DESCRIPTION: The peaceful farming community of Deer Creek is nestled in the rolling hills of Wyoming County in Western New York. It’s home to Gracie Andersen, who once again finds herself in a cemetery, laying a family member to rest. Wrestling with unresolved guilt and grief over the loss of her husband and unborn child, Gracie desperately wants to get her life back. An odd gift from her troubled uncle thrusts her into an investigation of her cousin's tragic death 20 years ago. What really happened that rainy, October night when her cousin was killed by a hit-and-run driver?
As pieces of the truth are wrenched from the past, her new business, Milky Way Kennels teeters on the edge of disaster. Her life starts to tailspin, and opposition to the investigation comes from friends and family alike. And then death strikes again. With Haley, her black Labrador by her side, Gracie doggedly pursues the truth of her cousin Charlotte’s untimely death.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A native of the snowbelt in Western New York, Laurinda Wallace is a graduate of Houghton College, NY and has been an administrator and legal assistant for most of her career. She now makes her home in the beautiful high desert of southeastern Arizona with her husband, David.
Laurinda, a lifelong writer pursued her passion for writing professionally once again in 2005. She has been published in several magazines, including The Upper Room and Mature Living. She contributes to several websites, including Christian Devotions. She's the author of the inspirational novel, The Time Under Heaven, the devotional, Gardens of the Heart, and a mystery, Family Matters.
SERIES: Volume 1 of "A Gracie Andersen Mystery"
MY THOUGHTS: Gracie is just a sweet, easy-going gal trying to recover from personal tragedy when life quickly spins out of control. Things in her world go from bad to worse at every turn, and the danger mounts as she gets closer to solving the mystery around her cousin's death. She's easy to root for, with her trusting personality and never-give-up attitude.
I pegged this book totally wrong. The lovable characters and small-town life lulled me into thinking I'd wrapped this mystery up pretty soon into reading, but the fun was actually just getting started. Not only did the crimes--old and new--intensify, but the deaths and suspects were piling up more quickly than I could make my next guess. I was pretty sure I'd picked out the love plot from the get-go, as well, but found myself surprised again by the time I'd turned the last pages. Just the way I like it!
I'm looking forward to the next volume of Gracie's adventures, already wondering what she and her faithful canine companion Haley will be getting into next.
PARENTAL RATING: PG. If your teens are into mysteries, this one is sure to grab their attention. (SPOILER ALERT) Charlotte's death involves an unwed pregnancy and there are a few scenes of danger, but I felt all of this was appropriately handled and wouldn't affect the placement of this book on my girls' shelves.
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.