Skinny Dipping with Murder (Otter Lake Mysteries #1) Review
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During the summer, people talk about their favorite “beach reads”—the light, entertaining novels that are perfect for relaxing afternoons by the water. But you don’t really have to be at the beach to enjoy a great beach read—like Skinny Dipping with Murder, author Auralee Wallace’s first Otter Lake Mystery.

The story follows Erica Bloom as she returns home to Otter Lake to help her lovably hippy-dippy mother, who needs help keeping her New Age-y retreat in business. Erica isn’t thrilled when she discovers that her mother expects her to help by committing insurance fraud—but that’s just the beginning of her problems. The town’s Raspberry Social is coming—the anniversary of the greatest humiliation of her life. Distractingly handsome Grady Forrester has also become the town’s sheriff. And, as if all that weren’t bad enough, Erica discovers a dead body—and she suddenly finds herself suspected of murder.

If you love comical cozies that are loaded with quirky characters on madcap adventures, this is sure to be your new favorite series.

Erica Bloom is a big-city girl who’s spent seven years trying to escape her past. But as soon as she returns home to Otter Lake, she finds that all of her attempts to control her life and create a new image were pretty much pointless. And it isn’t long before her quest to clear her name pushes her to sneak around, break into houses, and race through the woods with crazy old ladies in the middle of the night.

Erica is also surrounded by eccentric characters. There are the women at the retreat: Erica’s mother, her troubled guests, and her cackling old neighbors, sisters Tweety and Kit Kat. There’s Erica’s best friend, Freddie, a reclusive rich kid who’s working on a career as an online psychic (though he’s thinking about becoming a mystery writer). And, of course, there’s Grady, the too-handsome sheriff, who’s investigating Erica for murder while not-so-subtly trying to reignite their old flame.

These characters have a whole lot of history—and as Erica returns home for the first time in years, she introduces readers to each new person while reminiscing about their past. It’s the perfect way to set up the series (and the key players) in a way that feels entirely natural. They’re all silly and lovable in their own way—the kind of people that you’ll want to spend more time with.

The town, too, is a place that you’ll want to revisit—a place that’s all lakes and islands, where residents travel by boat instead of by car. There’s just something about this quaint little community that makes every page feel like a literary getaway.

So whether you’re packing your bags for a relaxing beach vacation—or you just wish you were—this laugh-out-loud cozy is a great choice for some light reading. And it promises plenty of wild and wacky capers to come.

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