by Karen Randau
In book 3 of the Rim Country Mysteries, an elderly woman stumbles into the campsite as Rita, Cliff, and Rita’s long-lost mother Willow enjoy s’mores and folk music around the fire. The action heats up when Willow falls for the key suspect, Rita’s old friend and mentor. Rita discovers her mother isn’t the woman she thought she was, and Rita must overcome a spate of life-threatening obstacles before anyone else dies.
“You’ve become an accomplished musician.” I envisioned Willow sitting in a circle with other artists who lived at the commune where she retreated after my father’s death.
We all leaped to our feet when a gunshot sounded in the distance.
“What was that?” Willow looked like a spooked gazelle ready to sprint to higher ground.
“Someone’s target practice, I imagine.” Cliff used his calming police detective’s voice but took a step toward the trail where Lucy McMann had gone earlier.
“So late at night?” Willow sounded unconvinced.
“Yeah.” Cliff rolled his tongue against the inside of his cheek. “Seems strange.”
I hoped my smile wasn’t too taut to hide my concern from Willow. I stood beside her and watched the beam from Cliff’s flashlight as he walked several yards down the trail. When he returned, he tried a nonchalant tone to ask for another s’more. Despite emoting confidence, he sang with less gusto, often squinted into the surrounding darkness, and monitored the path leading into the forest.
An hour later, I heard a feeble cry for help and stood to face the trailhead.
A white-haired woman in a red gingham shirt stumbled from the forest. She collapsed next to our tent and rolled to her back. I gasped at the arrow protruding from her chest. Light from the fire flickered on the arrow’s bloody shaft.
Cliff rushed to her. “It’s the woman we met earlier. Lucy McMann.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A native of the southwest U.S., Karen Randau pens the Rim Country Mystery series set in the quaint fictional mountain town of Rim Vista, Arizona, below the Rim of the Colorado Plateau.
The series features fast-paced stories with intricate plots, lots of action, and a pinch of romance, told from the point of view of protagonist Rita Avery.
Karen has traveled internationally and witnessed famines, violence, and hopeful people working to overcome abject poverty. She draws on both her creativity and personal experience to weave together an interesting cast of characters with rollercoaster-like twists and turns.
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Deadly Choices by Karen Randau is the third book in the ‘Rim Country Mystery’ series and follows Rita Avery as she and her police-detective husband Cliff get ensnared in a new murder investigation. Their new married life is complicated by both the reappearance of her long-absent mother and the danger that seems to stalk Rita as clues are being uncovered. Cliff’s methodical investigation is complemented by Rita’s unconventional approach but they may be unable to overcome the determined assault that seems determined to end Rita’s life.
This contemporary mystery story is chock full of exciting and hair-raising adventures that challenge the heroine’s ability to heal and her investigative contributions. I actually was tired by the time the story ended because it seemed like there was never any downtime and I would have thought she would have been REALLY traumatized by at least one of the things that happen to her in this story, let alone the sequence of adventures that take place. The awkwardness of her mom’s confession and the conflict of interest so soon into their new relationship was a little awkward for me, not to mention the fact that Cliff takes Rita with him to so many sensitive interviews. That being said, this is a story that stands alone with no problem, and provides an entertaining puzzle that takes twists and turns and gives both a view of a loving relationship and the tenacity required to solve a thorny mystery. I like the give and take between Cliff and Rita and I am curious to read the previous stories to get more information on how their relationship started…although, given this tale, I suspect Rita is even more of a trouble magnet, lol.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review