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A Killer Read
Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery #1
Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime
April 2012/ 978-0-425-24703-7

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Lizzie Turner has a way with words. She is an educator, a reading specialist for youths who need remedial help, and she is a member of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society, more commonly known as a book club. Rounding out Lizzie's life in the small town of Aston Corners, Alabama are her membership in the Musica Nobilis choir, her cozy apartment, her cats and her jogging routine. Life is simple and enjoyable, although not exciting.

The simple life becomes complicated when a mysterious stranger appears at Molly Mathews house as the book club is having its meeting. The stranger asks to use the phone because his car is broken down. Minutes later, the stranger, who police identify as Frank Telford, is found dead outside the house. He was shot to death and it appears the gun belonged to Molly's late husband, and that it was taken from the gun cabinet. Molly becomes a suspect in the eyes of the law, but she isn't the only member of the book club to face scrutiny.

Lizzie wonders if there is anything she can do to help the investigation along. She wants to help her friends, and she is also eager to spend more time with the police chief, Mark Dreyfus. After all, she'd had a crush on him in high school and now that they are grown up and both single… the sparks are flying.

I found this book to be a most delightful read. The cover is lovely and inviting, featuring two beautiful Siamese cats, a butterfly and a serene looking front porch. The story lived up to the cover, with written illustrations of the settings that I found enchanting. The Alabama town is portrayed as picturesque, and the citizens are full of southern charm. The characters are a close-knit bunch, and Lizzie goes out of her way to make newcomers, like Sally-Jo Baker, feel welcome. With a laundry list of clues, a handful of suspects, and a few plausible scenarios for the murder, Lizzie and the police have their work cut out for them.

I read A Killer Read in just two sittings. It was a fast read, and one that I didn't want to put down. As a debut novel it's a winner, and has me hooked and wanting more. It would be a great book club read, or perfect for a lazy summer weekend.

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2012