Today I read the first of the Piper Blackwell mysteries. I want to start this review off by stating up front that I consider the author a friend, though she does not know that I am reviewing her book here today. As with all my previous reviews, I bought my own copy of the book from Amazon. This was not a solicited review.
The book starts on Piper's first day as Sheriff. Her father had been the previous sheriff but was forced to retire due to a cancer diagnosis, and a number of people suspect that she won the election based solely on her father's name.
The man she beat out for the position is currently her deputy sheriff. He doesn't believe she can do the job and is waiting for her to fail the sheriff's exam in a few months. Once that happens, he will step into the position that he feels should rightly have been his all along. While Piper has never worked in a sheriff's office before, she has spent the last 4 years in the military as an MP and been awarded a number of medals during her time serving in Iraq. Had her father not been diagnosed with cancer, she would likely have remained in the military rather than returning home to help him through his cancer treatments.
Piper hadn't actually expected to win the election, and on her first day she is called to the site of a murder. Her deputy doesn't make any attempt to disguise his opinion that she has no place even trying to be the sheriff. He and a number of others in the department feel that she is too inexperienced for the position and are resentful that a girl who is at most half their age is now their boss.
Despite all of their obvious resentment and attempts to show her up, Piper is determined to stop what quickly turns from just the one murder into an obvious serial killer in a small town that has never before had to deal with something so sinister.
Unfortunately, most of the others working in the department seem to be determined to solve the murders on their own, thus proving how unfit she is for the position. It is very difficult to accomplish anything when it seems that everyone else is working against you and doesn't want you around. Piper needs to prove to everyone (including herself) that she can do the job and deserves to be the town’s sheriff.
I absolutely loved reading this book. It sucked me in and I only set it aside to sleep at night. (I finished reading it in only 2 days.) The plot was clearly well thought out and well researched. I did run across a couple of typos, but they in no way spoiled my enjoyment of the story. I very definitely recommend reading this one. If the second book is even half as good, I'm in for a real treat once I start reading that one!