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Whacked! A Romantic Suspense by Amy Corwin
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432825881
Date: 19 December 2012

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Stressed out and exhausted, Cassie Edwards arrives at the home of her aunt and uncle for a two-week house-sitting stint in Peyton, North Carolina. After unloading her car, she goes for a stroll in the woods and discovers her uncle stoned on marijuana beside a dead man. Desperate to protect him, she manages to get him headed toward the house and messes up the crime scene to obscure evidence of his presence. She fears the police will arrest her uncle for the murder.

The sheriff is the young man who drove her and her date home from her high school prom and, sick from the flu, she threw up all over him. The memory still haunts her, and she resolves to keep her uncle’s involvement secret. Between the state of the crime scene and Cassie's nervous evasions, the sheriff isn't sympathetic.

Cassie has tolerated a stressful job for six years. As a tech guru, she could have gone elsewhere, but didn't. Now she has an ulcer and is taking antidepressants that leave her groggy and confused at times.

The victim is the bodyguard of the man who took Cassie to the prom. He is also rumored to be peddling drugs. Her uncle has been growing and supplying the victim with marijuana.

An ambitious deputy tries to take over the case and believes Cassie's uncle killed the victim over a drug deal. He tries to go over the sheriff's head and even contacts the local media. He sees the sheriff's job as a stepping stone to a political future.

The victim's employer and his wife have alibis for the time of the murder, but the sheriff still suspects they know more than they will admit. The corpse wore ill-fitting, expensive clothing unlike his norm garb. The coroner also found a condom in the victim's underwear.

The investigation and the attraction between Cassie and the sheriff move the action along. He was her crush in high school. Then, her old boyfriend, the victim's boss, tries to hit on her.

The coroner provides important support as do the various friendships the sheriff has made over the years. Despite the one deputy's rush to pin the murder on Cassie's uncle, the other deputy provides insights and abilities invaluable to the sheriff and to solving the case. It's surprising, once the victim was identified, the sheriff didn't immediately search the victim's apartment.

A frenetic climax places Cassie and her uncle facing a gun in the hands of a determined killer. Some will find the identity of the murderer a surprise. As romantic suspense and mystery, the novel will satisfy most cozy readers. Those who favor police procedurals will be disappointed. The ending leaves room for a sequel.

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