Review: Flash Memory by Anna Castle

Photographing her boyfriend Ty’s ranch and future eco-spa, Penny Trigg climbs an old windmill and falls onto an oddly soft piece of ground. A fresh grave. The suspects for putting a pushy developer in that grave include Ty, his sister Diana—who’s gone missing—and some local officials Penny has been photographing for their campaign posters, including one who works in law enforcement. Since she ends up photographing a couple of crime scenes as well, her investigations occur so naturally I never once questioned an amateur’s involvement. She gets enthusiastic help from Ty’s cousin Perline, co-owner of a local diner. Perline and her husband Cracker are great additions to the Lost Hat cast, and their diner is so eccentric I wish it were real. Penny’s brother Nick is another lively new character, with a past that enables him to grasp a clue Penny wouldn’t have understood.

As in the other Lost Hat book, there are some elements that aren’t typically cozy—in this case, characters with a history of drug and alcohol problems and those who currently use drugs. This isn’t just backstory; it’s central to the story. And it’s a tightly crafted story, with the right balance of humor and suspense.

I again enjoyed Penny and Tillie’s friendship, and the way they work together in spite of the stresses it puts them through. Penny’s efforts to solve the crime run her into some uniquely local types of dangers, such as her encounter with a bull named Blackberry. Though there is one of those confrontation-and-confession scenes, it’s an original variation on that convention.

I hope there’ll be more books in this series so I can spend more time with the characters.

*****

Universal link: books2read/FlashMemory

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130958636

iBooks US: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1457418389

iBooks UK: https://itunes.apple.com/uk/book/id1457418389

Kobo US: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/flash-memory-1

Kobo UK: https://www.kobo.com/uk/en/ebook/flash-memory-1

Kobo CA: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/flash-memory-1

Kobo AU: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/flash-memory-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Flash-Memory-Lost-Texas-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01CXA2IZO

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flash-Memory-Lost-Texas-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01CXA2IZO

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.co.ca/Flash-Memory-Lost-Texas-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01CXA2IZO

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.co.au/Flash-Memory-Lost-Texas-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01CXA2IZO

 

Advertisements

Review: Black and White and Dead All Over by Anna Castle

Colorful Cozy with Texas Sass

I love Anna Castle’s way with words. The first person narration of this book has so much personality, humor and style, I could have enjoyed it for the writing alone, but the setting, characters and plot are equal to the words. The fictional town feels true to the region, a mix of Anglo and Hispanic, of Southern and Western. Athletic, witty, and independent, photographer Penny Trigg stands out among cozy mystery protagonists, and the book as whole is refreshingly free of the features that have made many cozies too much alike in recent years. If you’re allergic to cuteness, no worries. You can read this book with pleasure.

Being a little too impulsive for her own good, Penny makes some decisions that get her in trouble, and her path to getting out of it leads her into the citizens of Lost Hat’s secrets, the investigation of two murders, and of course, more trouble.

The first character to die was so real and likeable, I had no discomfort at all with Penny’s involvement in finding out why he died and who did it. Amateurs’ motives need to be plausible, and her stakes are high. She has additional good reasons to investigate murder and blackmail, as does her new friend Krystle, an equally original character, not the typical sidekick. I especially loved the scene where Krystle talks Penny into a reckless attempt at sleuthing, and Murphy’s Law kicks in with hilarious results.

There’s a third member of the sleuthing trio: intelligent, cautious, and self-effacing Tillie. She’s an asset as well as a contrast. Their investigative teamwork ranges from adventurous and funny to patient and still funny, and their encounters with their suspects take the reader on a colorful tour of Lost Hat. I didn’t figure out whodunit. The last two suspects stayed in the running right up until the end.

The romantic subplot is tightly integrated into the mystery plot, as are Penny’s work as a photographer and her boyfriend’s computer expertise. Every element serves the story and gives the reader’s reasons to care what happens.

I seldom binge read a series, but I’m already on the second book. Stay tuned for the next review.

*****

Universal link: https://books2read/black-white-dead

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1457418389

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-white-dead-all-over-anna-castle/1121869639

Kobo US: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/black-white-dead-all-over-1

Kobo UK: https://www.kobo.com/uk/en/ebook/black-white-dead-all-over-1

Kobo CA: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/black-white-dead-all-over-1

Kobo AU: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/black-white-dead-all-over-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Black-White-Dead-All-Over-ebook/dp/B00WFISKMA

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-White-Dead-Texas-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00WFISKMA

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.co.ca/Black-White-Dead-Texas-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00WFISKMA

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.co.au/Black-White-Dead-Texas-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00WFISKMA