About the Book
Print Length: 208 pages
Publisher: J. Lavene (December 1, 2015)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Down the mountain from Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is Christmas Tree Valley, a place filled with hundreds of Christmas tree farms where generations of growers have made people’s lives brighter. Yet even here in this quiet, postcard-perfect corner of the world, darkness and murder can still stalk the night.
Federal Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle has always had a special gift with wild animals. It was one of the reasons she decided to train with the wildlife agency. She’s spent the last ten years in Alabama working, but her mother needs her home and she’s back despite all the bad parts of her life she hoped to leave behind.
Her first day home begins with a fire on the island in Sweet Pepper Lake and the death of Harvey Shelton, the wildlife agent she’s supposed to replace. Bonnie manages to rescue dozens of animals from the fire – including a wolf pup that was shot with the same bullet that killed Harvey.
Now she’s hot on the trail of Harvey’s killer and trying to reintegrate the wolf back into the wild even though he seems to want to stay with her. Yet old memories persist in the small community where she grew up, and the killer now seems to believe that she has what he killed Harvey for. All she has to do is figure out what that is before it’s too late.
Christmas Recipes included!
I have to start off this review by saying that the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade mystery series is one of my favorite cozy series. When I heard there was going to be a spin-off series, I could not wait to get my hands on the first book. I am not disappointed. In fact, I’m amazed at how much I loved this one. The perfect cozy mystery especially for the Christmas season.
In this series we meet Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle. She grew up in Sweet Pepper but due to some personal problems, she left and moved to Alabama. Now, she’s back in her hometown to help her family.
Bonnie's first day back is a busy one to say the least. There’s a fire and the wildlife agent she is replacing is murdered. She, also, has a special gift with animals. As an animal lover, that makes this character even more special to me. She manages to save a wolf that was hurt with the same bullet that killed the wildlife agent. She plans to integrate the wolf back into the wild, but the wolf seems to have other ideas.
Bonnie sets out to assist the police in the investigation of the murder. She quickly remembers how small town gossip spreads and her past might not stay in the past for very long. However, she’s intent on her current job and finding out who killed her predecessor.
The Lavenes once again outdid themselves. This story has it all – there’s a ghost, mystery, adventure, a little romance and a mystical air surrounding this storyline. It’s a quick read with an amazing cast of characters. Each one is so realistic and touches your heart with so many different emotions. I do hope Jim can find a way to keep this series going. I only wish Joyce were here so I can tell her how much I loved this one.
FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review for this blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the Authors
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.