Moonshine Murder (Hawkman #14) Review
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The private investigation business is a little slow for Tom “Hawkman” Casey—not to mention a bit boring—so when he’s confronted with a mysterious family living in the hills of California just over the Oregon border, he’s driven to uncover their secrets. With the help of his wife, mystery novelist Jennifer Casey, he sets out to make sure that nothing nefarious is going on too close to home.

When young Randy Hutchinson turns up with an accidental gunshot wound to the leg, Jennifer and Tom are flung into the family’s many problems—one of which is being so poor that they don’t even own a vehicle, just a couple of horses and a buckboard for getting around. Tom also finds out that the father, Jeb, might be brewing and running moonshine.

After Jennifer befriends the mother, Beth, she grows attached to the family and becomes concerned about what Tom’s investigation might cost them. Then someone turns up dead, and the entire family comes under suspicion. Tom has no choice but to get to the bottom of it, no matter how dangerous the situation has grown.

I love how the author Betty Sullivan La Pierre is able to turn something as ordinary as horses and a buckboard into something a little bit creepy, as it travels around during the late hours of night. Though it’s not unheard of for people to travel by horse and buggy in this century (the Amish come to mind), the author’s skill in creating an eerie atmosphere made it feel as if this horse and buckboard team were something out of time—and not here for anything good.

Jennifer Casey’s compassionate nature comes out in Moonshine Murder, which is a nice complement to Hawkman’s natural suspicion of people and situations. They keep each other from going to extremes with their individual feelings, so Jennifer doesn’t become too vulnerable or Hawkman too cynical.

Though I originally felt as if the title, Moonshine Murder, gave away some of the mystery right from the beginning, once the murder comes on board the plot thickens, providing plenty of suspects with a plethora of motives and perfect opportunities to commit the act. There’s no way you’ll figure out who the guilty party is until the end.

Moonshine Murder flows along at a fast clip, causing you to hang on every word, anxious to find out just how it’ll all come together in the end. With the unique premise of murder combined with moonshine-running in a modern setting, you can’t help but be intrigued by the plot. This is a nice addition to the Hawkman series, and I look forward to finding out what kind of unique plot Ms. La Pierre comes up with in her next Hawkman mystery.

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