Today, I am hosting a REVIEW for CHICKEN CULPRIT, the first book in the Backyard Farming series by Vikki Walton.
Finally healing after her heart-breaking divorce, Anne Freemont is ready to put the painful past behind her.
Discovering an old Victorian for sale in the small mountain town of Carolan Springs may be just what she needs. The beauty of Colorado beckons, so Anne heads west to start her new life.
Yet, before Anne’s completely settled in, her neighbor is found dead in his compost pile. What’s worse is that Anne’s quirky young neighbor, Kandi Jenkins, could be the killer. When Kandi begs for her help, Anne feels she has no choice but to help the young woman.
However, she finds herself quickly at odds with the local sheriff. And while she uncovers more of the community’s secrets, she’s also exploring her awakening feelings for Sam Powers, the town’s deputy coroner.
Once Anne starts looking at who could be the real killer, the suspect list keeps getting longer and longer. It seems that Carolan Springs is a place of many secrets. But who would want to murder Ralph and who’s willing to kill again to keep their secret?
Anne yawned and stretched her hands over her head. She unlocked the kitchen window, taking in a deep breath of crisp Colorado air and sighed loudly. No longer would she have to deal with divorce lawyers or Duke. She could finally live her life as she saw fit.
Anne surveyed her domain. Even though boxes cluttered every available space, it didn’t matter to her. What she cared about was that it was all hers. While the work ahead might seem daunting, the prospect of transforming the old Victorian house didn’t deter Anne.
She poured herself a cup of coffee, both hands cradling the mug, before deciding to drink it out on the back porch. Rays of sunshine had risen about the copse at the back of her property, and its golden warmth welcomed the day. Raising the mug to her mouth, Anne took a much-needed sip of the hot morning brew.
“Stop! Stop!” A woman’s voice carried over from the other yard.
Anne sloshed coffee onto her chambray shirt. “Shoot!” She set her cup down on the railing. The liquid turning cold began seeping onto her skin.
“Stop!” The piercing scream came again.
This was definitely a book that took me by surprise! I typically only read cozies that fall within my interests, which explains why you’ll see me review a lot of them featuring books, libraries, food, and sometimes crafts. I was largely intrigued by the author’s giveaway for this tour, which included the winner’s ability to help create a character in the next book. That is an absolutely fantastic idea and I just knew I needed to give this one a shot and read it in anticipation of the next book! And I can honestly say that I’m so glad I did!
Walton’s smooth and casual writing style really makes you feel a part of this community. Readers get to know Anne’s neighbors right alongside her and follow her along as she makes the decision to help Kandie. And there are plenty of shady individuals lurking around in this neck of the woods! I thoroughly enjoyed that Anne wasn’t the typical amateur sleuth that you see in many cozies who is overconfident in her abilities and eager to a fault. Anne initially doesn’t want to get involved and for good reasons, but gradually, she determines she does has something to offer and proceeds accordingly. While Kandie’s use of the word “like” was extremely annoying as the story began, the resulting friendship Kandie and Anne shared quickly overshadowed any frustration to the point that it almost became background noise by the end. Despite their many differences, these two women bonded together to create a truly heartwarming and unforgettable relationship that I am looking forward to seeing more of.
There are many humorous and witty moments along this twisting and turning roller coaster of a mystery with an ending that I didn’t see coming! This was a great start to what sounds like a promising series and is an absolute steal on Kindle. I would highly recommend this one for anyone simply looking for a place to start with cozies, but if you’re like me and you have read quite a few of them, this one was certainly enjoyable and well worth the time. And please be sure to enter the giveaway because I can’t wait to read what character a fellow reader might create!