WEEDING OUT LIES by Jackie Layton
SERIES: A Texas Flower Farmer Cozy Mystery
GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Level Best Books
RELEASE DATE: July 11, 2023
Flower farmer Emma Justice’s life is firmly rooted in Lutz, Texas where she has recently begun her new business. One morning while delivering flowers, she stumbles upon a prominent citizen. Dead. When a friend is accused of murder, Emma launches her own investigation. She’s used to separating weeds from flowers. Emma will dig for clues, weed out red herrings and cultivate a plan to find the killer.
What do you get when you combine a small Texas town, a single mom turned flower farmer, an adorable golden retriever, and a swoony Marine turned barista? Well, for starters you get the fun mystery that is Weeding Out Lies by Jackie Layton!
Now that Emma’s daughter is off to college, the 38-year-old widow is finally fulfilling her dream of running a flower farm – and seems to be off to a great start. So is her morning, after the flirtatious new barista won her over with a dose of his Texas pecan coffee. It all goes quickly downhill, though, when one of her flower deliveries leads her to a dead body. Emma’s apparently long-buried investigative instincts kick into gear right away, and so does her new friendship with Jake (the aforementioned flirty barista). I liked their pairing as a sleuthing team, and I enjoyed watching them become friends who are clearly attracted to each other but not romantic (yet). The addition of Cowboy, the super cute golden retriever, was the needed missing piece in Emma’s life, and the author does a great job of giving this four-legged character a lot of personality. I also absolutely LOVED the Nelle sisters. These three elderly sisters are quintessential small town characters, and the author tucks charming little clues about their individual personalities into the narrative for readers to discover.
The mystery has several layers that keep Emma & Jake – and readers – on their toes. A legendary town criminal, a philandering husband, suspicious strangers, and the stomach-sinking possibility that one of Emma’s friends or neighbors could be behind the murder. Oh yeah, and where is Brett (the owner of the coffee shop), why are Jake and his sister filling in for him, and what are they not telling Emma? Some of these plot twists had me chuckling, and others succeeded as red herrings in making me suspicious of everyone. The author draws us easily through the story and lays out the clues for us, if we are paying attention. But it’s still not quite that simple, so expect some surprises before all is said and done.
Bottom Line: Weeding Out Lies by Jackie Layton is a layered cozy mystery that introduces readers to a quaint Texas town (complete with an equally quaint town square) and a bevy of colorful residents. I loved that Emma already has a solid and multi-generational support network, but I also thought the new additions to her circle topped things off nicely. I had a hard time connecting with Emma’s motivations early on – things happened so quickly at first that I didn’t feel I had enough time to get a bead on her character before we were right in the middle of things. As the story progressed and I got to know her better, it became a moot point. The mystery was well-plotted, and I immediately got a good sense of the setting. I look forward to seeing where the series takes Emma from here!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!
Jackie Layton is the author of cozy mysteries with Spunky Southern Sleuths. Her stories are set in Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina. She lives on the coast of South Carolina where she enjoys walks on the beach and golf cart rides around the marsh. Reading, gardening, and traveling are some of her favorite hobbies. She always keeps a notebook handy to write down ideas for future stories. Be careful what you say around her, because it might end up in a book.
Other Featured Books by Jackie Layton
This giveaway is hosted by Great Escapes, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour by clicking the banner below
What about you? What makes you want to read Weeding Out Lies by Jackie Layton?