SUMMER SECRETS…KIDNAPPING AND MURDER.
Erin Walsh arrives home to tiny New Belford, Kentucky from college only to clash with her young stepmother, Shelby Rae. When Shelby Rae is kidnapped and a dear friend of the family is murdered, Erin discovers that both victims had secrets connected to the violent death of her mother seven years earlier. In a small town the pool of suspects is limited, but it also means the danger to Erin’s own life is deathly close.
Noah Daly, an old high school friend, is the son of the man everyone blames for the violent death of Erin’s mother. But he’s also the one person Erin feels she can trust to help her find Shelby Rae’s kidnapper and her friend’s murderer. Or is her sudden attraction to him blinding her to his true nature?
Enter Trouble, the wise and wily black cat detective. His paws have barely landed in the bluegrass when he realizes Erin is about to put herself in danger. Can he lead Erin to the truth before she becomes a victim herself?
This is a multi-author series about Trouble a mystery solving kitty. I like reading new to me authors and I get a taste of their writing as they interpret Trouble.
Trouble’s mistress Tammy Lee is much sought after for anything to do with books and in this one she’s left Trouble with her friend Erin while she goes overseas.
Erin’s step-mother, Shelby Rae is a piece of work, as is very apparent right from the beginning. Young and full of herself she has no regard for anyone around her not even her husband.
However there is a lot going on in this book and Shelby Rae is only the beginning. Then there’s Trouble trying to spark a romance between her and Noah.
This is a favorite scene.
Noah looked up at the starry sky. “Man, I could fall asleep right here, listening to the water lap, and the owls talking.”
“Tell me about it.” Saul took a swig of beer. “Fiancée’s out of town. Another brew and I’d rack for sure.”
Noah put his head back, but something landed on his lap, and he sat straight up. The black cat—what was his name? Bubbles? No, Trouble—swished his tail along the underside of Noah’s chin.
Saul laughed. “Probably a barn cat or something. Just pitch it down.”
Noah knew Trouble wasn’t a barn cat. Barn cats didn’t jump in your lap and start rubbing against you like you were their new best friend. At least he didn’t have to worry about fleas. Trouble was sleek and well-groomed.
“Dude, what are you doing outside? The coyotes would hunt you down for fun.” Noah scratched Trouble behind the ears.
“Friend of yours?” Saul gave Noah a curious look.
“He’s probably not supposed to be out. I think Erin—” Noah stopped at the sound of Erin’s name, surprising himself. “The Walshes are cat sitting him or something.”
“Keep ’em outside with a bowl of food, is what my family always did. If they wanted to eat, they either caught mice or fought to keep the raccoons off the porch.”
Holding the placid cat in one arm, Noah walked down the bank toward the house. There were still plenty of lights on inside, but he couldn’t see anyone. How late was it, anyway? He would go home as soon as he put Trouble inside. But when he touched the door handle, the door suddenly opened and he was face to face with a startled Erin. Now she wore a loose V-neck sweater that almost covered the legs of her shorts. Her hair was pulled back, too, in a low ponytail. She looked good. He held out Trouble to her.
“He was out by the bonfire. I thought maybe he needed to come in since he’s not from around here. Coyotes and stuff?”
Erin took the cat but didn’t seem exactly engaged.
“Is something wrong?” Noah asked.
Erin shook her head. “I don’t think so. It’s just that Dad can’t find Shelby Rae, and he’s kind of freaking out. She does this all the time, goes out and grabs a drink in town with a girlfriend. But she’s not answering her phone and her car’s here.”
“I could help you look for her.”
The Jack Russell terrier Noah had seen earlier, once in Shelby Rae’s arms, scrabbled at Erin’s feet, desperate to get outside.
“Jocko, get back. Now!”
The dog kept trying, so she pushed him back gently with one foot until he finally got the message.
Erin smiled. “Sorry. Listen, you’re so nice. But that’s Shelby Rae. She looooooves to be unpredictable. She’ll turn up. Thanks for bringing Trouble back. Bye.”
Noah told her, “Good night.” Then she closed the door.
He watched her through the glass as she walked through the kitchen, and dropped the cat gently to the floor. The little dog hurried ahead of them both.
He’d wanted to ask, “When can I see you again?” Except the words hadn’t come.
Laura Benedict. Small Town Trouble (Kindle Locations 305-330). KaliOka Press. Kindle Edition.
There are many twists and turns in this book. A convoluted plot with many players that will keep you on your toes.
Lots of suspicions, not a lot of proof and plenty of twists and surprises.
Trouble didn’t get out as much as he did in the previous books but he is once again responsible for figuring it all out. I can’t wait to read more of this series!
5 Contented Purrs for Laura!
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Laura Benedict is the Edgar- and ITW Thriller Award- nominated author of eight novels of suspense, including the forthcoming The Stranger Inside (February 5, 2019). Small Town Trouble, her most recent book, is a cozy crime novel. Her Bliss House gothic trilogy includes The Abandoned Heart, Charlotte’s Story (Booklist starred review), and Bliss House. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and in numerous anthologies like Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, and St. Louis Noir. A native of Cincinnati, she lives in Southern Illinois with her family.