A bizarre hit-and-run brings Branigan Powers back to the crime-solving beat
A fatal crash involving two college students heading home for the holidays seems like an unfortunate accident. But when the surviving girl wakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road–an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.
Reporter Branigan Powers delves into the mystery that takes her to the college campus, and leads her into dangerous fraternity and sorority pledge parties.
Reunited with the homeless Malachi Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn’t there rather than what is, Branigan must uncover what is really going on at the college before other students are put in danger.
This second installment in the author’s first cozy mystery series delves into the world of newspapers and life on the streets–both of which the author knows well.
SERIES: Branigan Powers Mystery #2
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Mystery
PUBLISHER: Lion Fiction
RELEASE DATE: June 27, 2017
Other Books In This Series
Branigan Powers and her friend Malachi Martin are back with a new mystery to solve in their small college town of Grambling, GA. I guess technically this could be considered a cozy mystery – small town, cute pet, amateur sleuth(s). But it goes a lot deeper and gets a bit grittier than most cozies too. Whatever you call it, though, it’s both compelling and captivating.
I’ll start by saying that I really just want to copy and paste By The Book’s review of this book because she covered everything so beautifully! Plagiarism is generally frowned upon though so I will try to #swoof (squeeze words out of feelings) on my own.
Branigan Powers may be the title character of the series, but Malachi Martin is my favorite. He’s complex and layered, observant and creative. And he gives homelessness a voice that most fiction doesn’t give. The reason he’s able to be such an effective sleuth is because, as Beckie from By the Book pointed out, his homelessness makes him invisible to most people. I love Malachi’s personality, his heart, and his insights. And I also love how the author writes him. She gives him dignity even as she acknowledges his homelessness and how it affects his life and even his dialect and vocabulary.
Funny how people in houses decided what the homeless needed. Not a toilet or a grill, which might’ve actually been useful. But clothes that grew mildew. Or soft drinks that rotted what teeth the crystal meth hadn’t got to. And, to everyone’s amazement, baby toys. Malachi had lived outdoors for the past fourteen years and had yet to see a baby out here.
The mystery is also complex and layered, with each new unturned stone leading to five or six more layers. I kept thinking, “Oh I totally know who did it” only to discover that in fact I was wrong. Again. More than once. These are my favorite kind of mysteries when it seems SO OBVIOUS until it isn’t and you’re left hollering at the book in awe. (Not that I ever do that, you understand. ahem.) Side note: I also really liked how it wasn’t solved in a weekend. There is actually a time lapse of several months which is much more realistic.
Bottom Line: The Cover Story is a well-plotted mystery with great characters and some poignant social insight as well. Twists and turns and red herrings (or are they?) share the page with an inside peek into journalism, homelessness, and college administration – all three areas well-known to the author. A dash of romance for Branigan has promise for future books, and I so hope that Malachi continues to be a pivotal character in this series!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there is some mild and scattered cursing throughout this novel.
My Rating: 4 stars / Really good story
Deb Richardson-Moore is the author of a 2012 memoir, The Weight of Mercy, and a novel, The Cantaloupe Thief, released in June 2016. Both are published by Lion Hudson of Oxford, England. She worked for 27 years as a writer for The Greenville News, covering art, theater, general features and religion.
Deb also serves as pastor of the non-denominational Triune Mercy Center in Greenville, South Carolina, where she works to make homeless parishioners feel respected, loved – and deserving of a pastor who dresses up for them, even in high heels. She is a Greenville native and a graduate of Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC) and Erskine Theological Seminary (Due West, SC).
Deb is married to Vince Moore, who is director of media relations for Furman University. They have three grown children – Dustin, Taylor, and Madison. Connect with Deb at her website.
What about you? Do you holler at books? Or … is it just me? 😉