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I am so happy to share my thoughts about Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower today!
Farm to Trouble (Farm to Table Mysteries)
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Kindle ASIN: B089N1KFLV
Coming home to a run-down farm, gossipy neighbors, and a shady investor is a lot to handle… but a murderer on the loose is the final straw!
Shiloh Bellamy cashed in her big city job and 401K to return home to Michigan to save the family farm, but turning Bellamy Farms into a sustainable, organic operation—complete with a farm-to-table café—is no small feat. Especially when her new investor is found dead among the flowers just hours after the contract is signed. Everyone knows her father had a grudge against the investor, and word travels fast in a small town…
Now, Shiloh must clear her family’s name and track down the real killer before her organic farm dreams wilt before her very eyes. But with her father trying to stop any progress on his land, her cousin belittling her every effort, the farmhouse falling down around her, and the whole town believing her family at fault, Shiloh’s small-town troubles are growing much faster than her crops. She’ll have to trust her own investigation or risk all her dreams drying up before they begin.
After a traumatic event, Shiloh Bellamy hit the road for California landing herself a dream job. A job that enabled her to send money home to keep the family farm afloat. But her father’s health is failing and so is the farm so she heads home to Michigan with high hopes of making Bellamy Farms a totally organic operation. She also plans to add a farm-to-table café to increase the farm’s bottom line. She knows to enact her plans she is going to need an influx of cash so she makes a contract with an investor right there in her hometown. When she arrives home she sees the farm is in much worse shape than she thought and her father is outraged to find out his daughter has agreed to take money from Jefferson Crocker.
The next day Shiloh arrives at the local farmer’s market to meet with her new investor but when she finds him she knows there will be no meeting. The man has been murdered and thanks to a loudmouth vendor almost everyone believes Shiloh is a cold-blooded killer. Others believe her father committed the crime. So now Shiloh has her work cut out for her. Her investor is dead, the farm still needs to be revived and now she has to find a killer to clear her dad and herself of murder.
Amanda Flower is a prolific cozy author who never disappoints. As soon as I heard about this series I booked a date on my calendar for Farm to Trouble. In this new series, we meet Shiloh Bellamy, her father, Sully, her cousin Stacey, her lovable pug, Huckleberry, along with assorted neighbors, friends, and other residents of Cherry Glen. While she has passed we also hear plenty about Shiloh’s grandmother. She was a hard-working woman who kept her family on track. She left behind quite a legacy as Shiloh recalls several times things her grandmother said and did. The author took her time and allowed her characters to develop over the course of the story while leaving plenty of room to grow as the series continues.
Ms. Flower captured the attitudes of small-town life perfectly. The cliques, the mean girls, the gossips, the hoity-toity, but a couple of good souls as well. Cherry Glen is a typical midwest town striving to find its footing in the progressing world. Change isn’t easy and many Cherry Glen residents are doing their best to avoid it.
The mystery was very well done featuring a victim who had plenty of enemies. The man liked flexing his financial muscles without a care about the people he left in his wake. Shiloh and Sully just happened to be his current mark. Being gone for so many years made it hard for Shiloh to know who to trust and she didn’t receive a hardy welcome home from many people but she still delves into an investigation to catch a killer. I was totally spinning my wheels until the actual guilty party was revealed. I at least had the person on my list but they were nowhere near the top. Ms. Flower penned a story with excellent twists. I did question some of Shiloh’s behavior with so much on the line but every person has their own way of processing actions and information.
Farm to Trouble has set this series off to a marvelous start. All the mysteries exposed within the book are not wrapped up by the final page. I am really looking forward to Shiloh solving the puzzle her grandmother left behind. I also feel there are some other things Shiloh needs to deal with from her past so she can truly move forward.
Ms. Flower has planted some wonderful seeds that I project will bloom into a very entertaining series. The story has a real true-to-life feel. There is some real family drama and there is a lot of hard work ahead for Shiloh to get close to realizing her dream plans. I think it is going to be very interesting to see the paths the author sets for these characters.
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About the Author
Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of over twenty-five cozy mystery novels, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. In addition to being an author, Amanda is a former librarian with fifteen years of experience in Northeast Ohio.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”