Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Sand Trapped by Joanna Campbell Slan

Posted July 21, 2021 by meezcarrie in contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, Joanna Campbell Slan, mystery/suspense / 22 Comments

Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery #6

GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Spot On Publishing
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2021
PAGES: 292

A Cozy Mystery That’s a Real Hit!

First they warned Jocelyn Johnson.
Then they ticketed Jocelyn Johnson.
Then someone murdered Jocelyn Johnson.

And Cara Mia Delgatto was looking for a lost ball when she found Jocelyn “JJ” Johnson face down in a sand trap. Gave a whole new meaning to “take a drop.”

It wasn’t a surprise. The neighbors hated JJ for the reckless way she drove her golf cart. Sure, she lived on the grounds of a swanky golf club, and yes, she had tons of money, but JJ ruined flowerbeds, terrorized grandkids, and made a nuisance of herself.

Except…except…she’s quiet now. Lying there in the dirt at Hole #6. Someone bashed in JJ’s head. (Who would risk ruining an expensive Homna golf club like that?)

Cara doesn’t want to get involved. But when Gerta Hunsickler is named the prime suspect, and Gerta’s husband is so angry at his wife that he’s starting divorce proceedings, Cara can’t sit on her hands. She knows what it’s like to be unfairly accused. So she promises to take a swing at it and see if she can hit a long drive down the fairway of justice!

Meanwhile, back at The Treasure Chest, Cara’s friends are busy creating fabulous and fun Mother’s Day gifts. There are two brides-to-be working for Cara, and their two mothers-in-law-to-be have decided not to play nice. Can you say, “Mama’s boy” ten times really fast? I thought you could.

If you love warm-hearted, clean books, that feature female amateur sleuths, fur babies, family, and friends, you’ll love this charming DIY/recycling/upcycling series set on the Southeast Coast of Florida.


Other Books In This Series

Before picking up Sand Trapped, I had never read a book by Joanna Campbell Slan before, but I quickly fell in love with her writing style. And, even though I’m starting well into the series, I didn’t feel like I was missing critical information. I also easily connected with Cara and her friends & family, and while I do want to go back and piece some backstories together, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book in any way.

Cara’s upcycle/antique shop The Treasure Chest is exactly the type of store my mom & I would want to frequent. You know there’s always going to be something new and unique, and I liked reading about the various items that Cara’s staff of super talented people brought to life to stock the shop ahead of Mother’s Day. I also liked that the author didn’t pause the story to go into minute detail on the ins and outs of upcycling each piece; rather it’s done very naturally and in such a way as to give us insight into the personalities of Cara’s employees & friends.

For her part, Cara is very likable, though I’m still not sure I accurately pinned down her age. (This made it difficult for me to picture her and subsequently her boyfriend Dan as well. There were also some continuity issues in my advanced copy, which did detract from my reading flow a bit. But hopefully those were corrected in final edits.) Her sleuthing makes sense, as much as amateur sleuthing ever does, and I appreciated how she didn’t take ridiculous risks. It’s also clear she values the people & animals in her inner circle. Her hunky boyfriend Dan and his stepson Gavin were my favorite characters among her friends, though I enjoyed them all. The murder mystery is full of plausible suspects, and while my initial suspicions proved true I wasn’t 100% confident that the clues I picked up on weren’t red herrings, until the big reveal of course.

Bottom Line: This was my first book in this series – and by this author – but Sand Trapped won’t be my last. I loved Joanna Campbell Slan’s writing voice and the way the first person narration gave me quick insight into Cara’s personality without having to tell me. The family feel of Cara’s upcycle store, The Treasure Chest, provides the book warmth in spite of the murder mystery. And, speaking of that, the plot kept me guessing, though I did pick up on some clues that Cara missed the first time around. Though this is the sixth book in the series, it works really well as a standalone. A fun cozy mystery and a new author for me to follow!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!

Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there is some implication of intimate activity but nothing specific, and there is no cursing or profanity.

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Also available to read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

“Our best friend, our next-door neighbor, and ourselves with just a touch of the outrageous.” That’s how RT Book Review describes Joanna’s protagonist, Kiki Lowenstein. The truth is that’s a pretty good description of Joanna Campbell Slan as well.

Joanna is a New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, and Amazon Bestselling author as well as a woman prone to frequent bursts of crafting frenzy, leaving her with burns from her hot glue gun and paint on her clothes. And the mess? Let’s not even go there.

Otherwise, Joanna’s a productive author with more than 80 written projects to her credit. Her non-fiction work includes how to books, a college textbook for public speakers, and books of personal essays (think Chicken Soup for the Soul).

Currently, she writes five fiction series: The Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series (Agatha Award Finalist, contemporary, St. Louis setting, crafting), the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series (contemporary, Florida setting, DIY, and recycling), the Jane Eyre Chronicles (Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 1830s England, based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic), the Sherlock Holmes Fantasy Thrillers (late 1800s, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s books), and the Zen Cozy Mystery Series (launch 2021).

A former TV talk show host, college teacher, and public relations specialist, Joanna was one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul contributors. She won a Silver Anvil for her work on the original FarmAid concert to benefit farmers.

In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida. You can email her at or visit her website at

Other Books by Joanna Campbell Slan

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What about you? What makes you want to read Sand Trapped by Joanna Campbell Slan?

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22 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Sand Trapped by Joanna Campbell Slan

  1. Nancy Butte

    Looks like a fun book to read. Joanna Campbell Slan is a new author to me. Thanks for a chance to win!

  2. Thank you all so much for your interest. I love writing this series, and I hope you’ll have as much fun with it as I have.

    • And now I have to think of what to do next in this series! Not to worry, though. There’s so much weirdness here in Florida. Did you read about the man who threw an alligator on his roof to “teach it a lesson?” Only here!

  3. Cathy French

    This sounds like a good read that I’ll truly enjoy. I have to say that the line, Gave a whole new meaning to “take a drop.”, made me laugh

    • I’ve had four different covers for this series because it took us a while to get it just right. I think we’ve done it now, don’t you? I wanted the covers to be funny, but not silly, and definitely have a coastal/beachy vibe.

  4. Lynn Brown

    This sounds like a fun series. I like the blurb. I enjoy reading about females doing the investigating. Thanks for the chance.

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