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Troubled Water by John DeDakis

John DeDakis understands the news business and the sea-change going on within the communications industry.  He was a journalist with CNN for 25 years and served as the Senior Copy Editor for “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”  He also served as a White House correspondent and is currently a writing coach and journalism teacher at the University of Maryland–College Park.  “Troubled Water” is the third novel in DeDakis’ Lark Chadwick Mystery and thriller series.

Lark discovers a body in the waters of the Chattahoochee River along the Georgia-Alabama border near a city DeDakis calls Columbia, GA, a thinly-veiled name change for Columbus, GA.  She is on her way from being a reporter in Pine Bluff, Wisconsin to work for a daily newspaper in Columbia as a reporter on the City Desk.  The dead woman she discovers is one of two who end up being murdered during Lark’s first couple weeks on the job, and Lark becomes a target also, mostly because she will not stop investigating these murders.  There are many interesting characters that Lark works with on the newspaper–the hot-shot photo-journalist who is accused of the  murders, the assistant on the City Desk who offers Lark a place to stay until she is settled in the community, the City Desk editor who seems to want to save Lark from the wrath of the publisher, and the mysterious former City Desk reporter who now does local news stories from an independent blog.

Troubled Water” is an action-packed thriller with very human characters set in an atmospheric southern community.  Lark Chadwick, who by the end of the book has moved on to a post for AP in Washington, DC, is no doubt going to be a staple mystery heroine for many years to come.

Reviewed from a supplied copy.

Liz Nichols


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Chocolate Covered Murder by Leslie Meier

I like food-themed mysteries.  Not sure what that says about my tastes, but I usually find that they are fun, fast reads.  Meier’s latest in her Lucy Stone Mystery series, “Chocolate Covered Murder” is no exception.  The only disappointment is she did not include the recipe for Lucy’s prize-winning Maple Blueberry Cheesecake in the book. (I’ll have to check Meier’s website to see if she’s posted it there.)

I really like Meier’s protagonist, Lucy Stone.  She’s a small town weekly newspaper reporter and someone who gets to know everyone who comes to town and knows everything that goes on in town.  She’s the kind of character that the reader comes to hang out with every time a new book comes out to enjoy a not-so-taxing read.  In this book Lucy is helped out of a snow-covered ditch by one of the town’s life-long residents and shortly after Lucy discovers that the same man drowned when he fell through the ice in a pond. He had a fish hook caught in his lip.  Lucy suspects foul play, but the police rule it an accidental drowning.  The former wife of the man is one of the owners of Fern’s Famous Fudge, a candy shop that has been a fixture in Tinker’s Cove for years.

There’s a new chocolate shop in town, Chanticleer Chocolates, that is billing its product as the “best candy on the coast.”  The two shops go head-to-head for the Valentine’s Day business and the newspaper, “The Pennysaver” is stuck squarely in the middle.  Most of the townsfolk square off with most of the women supporting Fern’s business and most of the men supporting Chanticleer, mostly because of its bombshell of a store manager, Tamzin Graves.  The big boss of Chanticleer is Trey Meacham, a new businessman to the area, who manufacturers all of the chocolates in an old converted factory in a town nearby.  His business acumen is undeniable, but some of the townspeople discover he may not share all the same interests and values as the regular folk.

There are two deaths that occur in the book that Lucy decides to solve with the help of an Army Major who comes into town late in the story with some information on Tamzin that helps to break open the case.

Chocolate Covered Murder” is an enjoyable, fast read for anyone who loves a cosy mystery set in a quaint New England town.

Liz Nichols

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