Genre: Cozy Mystery Publisher: Black Rose Writing Date of Publication: February 4, 2016 # of pages: 268
This second installment of the "Wilbarger County Series" joins Sheriff Wade Adams and Lizzie Fletcher as they investigate murder. Wade and Lizzie attend a dinner party near the small community of Rayland, Texas. One week later, one of the guests is murdered. With his only female deputy out on maternity leave, Sheriff Adams makes a quick decision to deputize Lizzie. That decision proves to be good for the department but damaging to their relationship. The Sheriff and his deputies follow every possible lead to no avail. Lizzie happens to overhear a conversation that gives them the break they need. With little time to spare, Sheriff Adams and his team rush to prevent yet another death.
Dianne Smithwick-Braden is a native Texas raised in rural Wilbarger County on the family farm. She is a graduate of Vernon High School and West Texas A & M University. She currently resides in Amarillo, Texas with her husband, Richard. She has been a high school science teacher in Amarillo since August of 1990. Dianne is an avid reader of fiction but murder mysteries are by far her favorite genre. Death under a Full Moon is her second novel and the second installment of the Wilbarger County Series.
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Small town murder makes everyone a suspect and when the main suspect is killed the sheriff doesn’t know which way to turn. The real story begins at a dinner party where the majority of the town is present and a ghost story is shared. It creates an eerie, uneasy atmosphere that leads into a murder that seems to have hints of the ghost story. The sheriff doesn’t have time to make sense of it before another body is found and it doesn’t stop there.
I love getting the chance to play detective and guess who the next victim might be, who the killer is, and the motive behind the madness. I might be a little sad when I’m proven wrong, which is seldom true, but I tend to enjoy the book more when they completely blow me out of the water. I was happily wrong with who was behind the murders and the motive. My favorite part was the granny coming clean about her past and making me rethink all the evidence I had built up against my main suspect.
I loved the layout of the story. It read like a CSI episode. You went on the interviews, listened to the autopsy reports, and gathered evidence with the detectives. The best part though was the rush at the end when a lead was finally discovered. You feel the anticipation as they try to make sense of it all and drive to figure out the connection. You then are running to catch the killer on the night you know they will attack again before yet another victim is claimed, which then becomes like a Scooby-doo episode, when the mask is removed and the killer is revealed to the public.
I would rate Death Under a Full Moonfour out of five stars. A few things that brought it down a star in my opinion are that more than half the story was filled with interviews; which is understandable and at some points they did combine several interviews to say the remaining answered the questions the same. I just wish they cut back on detailing each interview, if they were all going to be answered so similarly clueless and instead provide a little more background into the characters. I would have loved a chapter reflecting inside each family like the one referencing the Ellis household. That brought a depth into those characters that made me hate the situation even more. I really thought she was the murderer from the beginning with how she was sneaking around and never looking anyone in the eyes. The other thing that left me a little confused was the cougar. The footprints by the lake and the howling, what did that have to do with the story? As well as I know their past was expunged, but it feels like a thorough background check would have pulled up something to hint at the victim’s involvement with one another.
I would recommend this story to anyone who loves a good suspense or mystery read. It has a hint of romance in the beginning with humor thrown in throughout. You will learn from the mistakes of these two lovebirds not to roll around in the poison ivy. :)