Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Paint Can Kill by Joanna Campbell Slan

Posted April 10, 2024 by meezcarrie in Book Review, contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, Joanna Campbell Slan, mystery/suspense / 19 Comments

Paint Can Kill book review

Paint Can Kill by Joanna Campbell SlanPAINT CAN KILL by Joanna Campbell Slan
Cara Mia Delgatto Mysteries #9

GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Spot On Publishing
RELEASE DATE: December 15, 2023
PAGES: 254

It’s raining outside, and it’s raining inside. Hey, that’s Florida. But as sassy entrepreneur Cara Mia Delgatto watches a van full of Highwayman paintings walk out the front door of The Treasure Chest–because the collection’s owner is taking them back–she’s crying on the inside all the way to the bank. There will be no quick fix for this. Instead Cara focuses on an outstanding bill. When she visits the wealthy woman who has stiffed her, Cara stumbles over another stiff, a dead body. With multiple crisises in her business life, Cara grieves the loss of her live-in love and her rescue Chihuahua. The man and the dog have left a huge hole in her heart. Will Cara survive all these losses?

    • Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series is a clean read
    • Features a female amateur sleuth and her friends
    • Includes Florida lore and history
    • Shares ideas for upcycling, recycling, and repurposing
    • Celebrates friends, family, and fur babies


Other Books I’ve Featured In This Series

While it’s been a few books since I’ve read a story in the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery series, it only took me a little bit to re-acclimate myself to the characters and what I’ve missed. In fact, if you find the idea of this book intriguing and want to jump right in without reading the previous books first, you could absolutely do so.

Cara has suffered some deep personal losses since last I met her, and my heart went out to her as she continues to grieve. There are a couple of bright spots that come into her life in Paint Can Kill though, and I feel like – while there’s no ‘right’ timeline for the stages of grief – she is on her way to the place where the memories become a little bit sweeter and a little bit less painful. I loved both Herk and Bailey, could easily picture both, and hope they continue to play a key role in the series going forward. I’m particularly curious as to whether or not things might eventually develop beyond a friendship with Herk a few books down the line, and Bailey is everything adorable I love in a fictional dog.

There are several layers to the mystery in Paint Can Kill, including forged paintings, thefts, stalking, and of course murder. I wasn’t sure how – or if – each of these layers were connected until all is revealed a piece at a time, but I sure enjoyed trying to puzzle it all out along with Cara and her staff/friends. In addition to the other new faces in Cara’s life, there’s also a new police chief in town and I thought the author did a great job of portraying this adjustment period realistically, allowing for some tense moments as they suss each other out.

Bottom Line: Paint Can Kill by Joanna Campbell Slan is an engaging and layered story with likable characters and complex mysteries. The struggles that Cara, MJ, and Skye are respectively shouldering in this novel evoked my sympathies and made me even more invested in how everything would turn out for each of them. I really like this trio of friends/coworkers – as well as Honoria (whose hat pin weapon delighted me) – and I love how they all support each other without question. Twists, turns, and red herrings await readers in this charming cozy mystery, and you may find yourself craving a peaceful cottage on the coast after reading it!

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

My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!

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Joanna Campbell Slan

Joanna Campbell Slan 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 six 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), the Tai Chi Mystery Series (featuring a mature female amateur sleuth!) and the Friday Night Mystery Series (set in Decatur, IL in 1986 with a spunky female heroine.)

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 Featured Books by Joanna Campbell Slan

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What about you? What makes you want to read Paint Can Kill by Joanna Campbell Slan?

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19 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Paint Can Kill by Joanna Campbell Slan

  1. Roxanne C.

    This sounds like a fantastic mystery. I agree that that the cover is cute, especially the expression on the pup’s face.

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