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Taxed to the Max by Cheryl B. Dale
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432826000
Date: 19 December 2012

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Corrie Caters dislikes working as a clerk in the Ocosawnee County, Georgia, tax commissioner’s office. Much of the work involves car and mobile home tags. Some customers get downright angry about taxes, especially those with tax liens. One bull of a man tries unsuccessfully to attack the elderly tax commissioner, Mr. Jethro. The next day the commissioner is found dead in his office.

The only known enemy of the tax commissioner is Billy Lee Woodhallen. This hulking man has tax liens the commissioner intends to sell to a delinquent property firm. Billy Lee's visit to the tax office leads to mayhem. However, he has an alibi for the time of the murder. That doesn't stop Corrie and the entire town from believing he killed the tax commissioner.

The county commissioners need to fill the office quickly to meet various state deadlines. The tax office has only two full-time employees. The oldest, demon Dolores, is crotchety and universally disliked. The other is young Corrie, a three-year veteran in the tax office. The commissioners chose a reluctant Corrie, but she refuses so they enlist her parents.

Bodie Fairhurst, the man who jilted Corrie at the altar, warns her not to take the job. He suspects she may become another victim. When he demands she not take the job, she ignores his advice.

Once appointed, Corrie finds her troubles begin. Always, accident prone, she suffers a string of strange accidents that escalate. The police provide full-time protection, but the officers do little to make her feel safe, especially a small female would-be deputy.

Delores makes no secret of her feelings about Corrie’s appointment. In her view, only she has the necessary knowledge and experience for the job.

While not quite Barbara Kingsolver, because some characters verge on stereotypes, Dale has a good sense of southern voices and personalities that cozy readers will love. The stupidity of several characters will amaze most readers. Language is mild and the mystery has no real gore. The humor makes for a pleasant read.

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