Show Me the Deadly Deer
by Carolyn Mulford
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432827526
Date: 08 January 2014 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Show Me the Deadly Deer is the second mystery featuring acting Sheriff Annalynn Carr Keyser and ex-CIA agent Phoenix Smith, recovering from a serious injuring she suffered in Istanbul. Their childhood friend Connie Diamante joins them as Annalynn tries to solve the murder of farmer supposedly gored by a stag.
Called by a distraught wife reporting her husband missing, Annalynn and Phoenix find the farmer with a broken antler embedded in his back. Achilles, an ex-drug sniffing dog Phoenix rescued and adopted, helps them find the farmer's body and track his movements before he was killed. The two women suspect murder. No way could a deer have killed the man.
Most of the regular deputies have been seconded by the M squad to work on the death of a trooper following a traffic stop. Sam Gist, the man in charge, believes one or more cattle rustlers killed the trooper. When Annalynn tries to suggest the farmer's murder might also link to the Rustlers, Gist rejects the idea and tells her to investigate the death as an accident.
A shortage of manpower forces Annalynn to ask Phoenix to serve as a reserve deputy. Sent to comfort the widow until family arrives, Phoenix soon concludes the widow is an unlikely killer. The motive for the farmer's murder is obscure at first.
Phoenix continues to sort through clues and motives. She is asked to check out 'mad deer' reports and takes along a veteran newsman. As they seek signs of the deer, a sniper shoots at them. Thanks to Phoenix's suspicious nature, both Achilles and the reporter survive near misses. They find some evidence, but the sniper has fled.
Patient work by Annalynn, Phoenix, and Spike, one of the regular deputies, and occasional help from Connie soon brings more complications including local pot growing and drug distribution. The farmer has no links to either of those.
Astute readers will probably guess the killer by the middle of the novel, but tying all the clues together takes time. An exciting climax places Phoenix and Annalynn in danger. Overall, Mulford provides interesting characters and a good mystery.
From: Carolyn Mulford
This book and the previous one, Show Me the Murder, are available in a Kindle editions as well as hardcover.