Sheriff Kenni Lowry likes to think the zero crime rate in her small town in Kentucky is due to her being sheriff, but quickly discovers her grandfather’s ghost, who happened to be the town’s retired sheriff, has been scaring off any would be crime. Poppa has come back from the great beyond to be Kenni’s deputy after the beloved town doctor is found murdered.
Ghost or no ghost, time is of the essence. After all, re-election isn’t far away and Kenni doesn’t want to look for a new job anytime soon.
With the help of her Poppa, a lone deputy, and an annoyingly cute, too-big-for-his-britches State Reserve officer, Kenni must solve both cases and prove to the whole town, and herself, that she’s worth her salt before time runs out.
SERIES: Kenni Lowry Mysteries #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Henery Press
RELEASE DATE: June 14, 2016
“‘Calling all units.’ I wasn’t sure why she’d be calling for all units when the only unit was me…”
Tonya Kappes is a new-to-me author but right from the dedication page I knew I was going to like her. Why? Well, because she dedicated Fixin to Die to her small hometown in Kentucky… which also happens to be the small Kentucky town in which I’ve lived for the past 25 years. And while the fictional Cottonwood in Fixin to Die is not this real-life town, there are enough similarities in “voice” that I found myself chuckling often as I read.
For instance, the phrase “big ole” – two words I had never used in conjunction with each other before moving here. Now, it’s a part of my everyday vocabulary. In context for anyone who doesn’t live in Kentucky, “Finn’s mouth turned up in a big ole smile, exposing those perfect teeth.“
As a northern Illinois native who moved to Kentucky my freshman year of high school, I related to Finn quite a bit. Finn is the reserve officer from the Kentucky State Police who has been sent to help Kenni with the murder investigation. Watching this “Yank” navigate the small town of Cottonwood gave me much amusement as I can still remember my own days of acclimation to what I now consider my beloved Kentucky home. When he pulls out the paper on which he’s scribbled directions and reads them aloud to Kenni exactly as they were given to him, I literally did laugh out loud. Absolutely spot on. “That’s way out yonder. This is what you are gonna do….You are gonna drive straight down this road until you get to the outhouse on the cement blocks where there isn’t a stitch of grass. Anyways, you are gonna turn right right there. Well, it’s really a curve, but go slow because Grant Henry took that curve and ended up knocking that outhouse down. That’s why it’s on cement blocks now.”
But besides delighting me with her depiction of this small Kentucky town, Tonya Kappes kept me fully entertained with the mystery and the humor and the characters. And, of course, the hint of romance.
Sheriff Kenni Lowry is very dimensional – stronger than she feels she is, a little bit awkward, completely engaging and relatable. Finn is her hunky sidekick and I had a big ole grin on my face during one of the last scenes of the book. I am looking forward to seeing how the chemistry between them plays out in future books. The secondary characters are fun, too. Full of sass and small-town charm, they leap off the page and into your heart. Some of them you want to jerk a knot into; others you just want to hug. But they’re all entertaining and well-defined. I loved Poppa’s character, the ghost of Kenni’s grandfather (the former sheriff) who has been keeping the town free of crime since Kenni was elected sheriff. Except, you know, for the recent murder and jewelry store robbery. But other than that – zero crime rate, thanks to Poppa. He added a lot of heartwarming moments as well as humor to the story and to Kenni’s character.
Bottom Line: Fixin to Die is a fantastic start to a new series! It’s cute and endearing, funny and sweet, and the mystery will keep you intrigued from start to finish. Quirky characters with lots of layers give the story a lot of its charm, and Tonya Kappes’ engaging writing style fills in the rest. If you love cozy mysteries and you love small southern towns, then Fixin to Die is fixin’ to be your next fave read.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Loved it!
Reviewer’s Note: Even though this is a “cozy mystery”, there is some profanity scattered throughout. It is otherwise clean.
For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans. Be sure to check out Tonya’s website for upcoming events and news and to sign up for her newsletter at Tonyakappes.com!
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