On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Beaches, Bungalows, & Burglaries: A Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery Series
1st in Series
Setting – Kentucky
Publisher: Independently published (May 25, 2018)
Hardcover: 206 pages
Paperback: 210 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07C4NT6BS
Welcome to Normal, Kentucky where NOTHING is normal.
Mae West, a far cry from the Hollywood actress, has been thrown for a loop. Her plush lifestyle in the big city of New York comes to a screeching halt after the FBI raids her mansion and arrests her husband, Paul West, for a Ponzi scheme that rips people out of millions of dollars.
Mae finds herself homeless, friendless, and penniless. All hope isn’t lost. . .the only thing Mae got to keep that the government didn’t seize is a tourist campground, Happy Trails, in Normal, Kentucky, and an RV to live in. One problem, Mae’s idea of camping has room service.
By the look of the brochure, Happy Trails has plush Kentucky Bluegrass, a crystal clear lake, a beach chair with her name on it, and thoughts of how much money it could bring her after she sells it. Mae figures she’ll take a couple of weeks’ vacation with her toes dipped in the lake. Things aren’t always as they appear. The Kentucky Bluegrass is nothing but dirt and the crystal clue lake is murky with green slime on top.
Mae quickly finds out that Happy Trails and the citizens of Normal were also victims of Paul’s schemes, making her lower than the lake scum in the residents’ eyes. Mae doesn’t think things could get much worse, but as luck would have it, Paul West has escaped from prison and is found dead, murdered, floating in the Happy Trails mucky green lake.
Mae is the number one suspect on Detective Hank Sharp’s shortlist. After all, Mae has the perfect motive as a kept wife who has been scorned to ashes, embarrassed to death and seeking revenge.
Time is running out for Mae to prove that she’s innocent and nothing like her husband. If only she could get someone to believe her and talk Detective Sharp into looking at other residents who’ve lost all their savings to Paul’s Ponzi scheme before the curtain is closed on this Hollywood namesake.
Mae West has had her life turned inside out. You see her husband was scum, scamming hard-working people and senior citizens out of their hard-earned cash and the FBI has finally caught up with him. Sadly Mae had no clue what he was up to and is now broke and homeless and without a motor vehicle. Then she meets with her lawyer where she finds herself the new owner of a used RV and a campground in Normal, Kentucky that was somehow in her name only. Seeing the brochure she immediately sees dollar signs, thinking how much can she sell it for. In the meantime, a little beach vacay sounds pretty good.
When she arrives at the Happy Trails Campground she thinks there must be some kind of mistake. The place looks nothing like the brochure. The sights are rundown, the lake is full of green slime and algae, and the beach is far from blissful. She learns her husband has struck here as well. Not taking care of upkeep and maintenance, not paying his manager, and worst of all he scammed the people here as well. She is not totally surprised to find his body in the slimy lake following his escape from prison. As the scorned wife she becomes the prime suspect. Sadly she needs to build a little trust with the people of Normal while she proves she did not murder anyone and had nothing to do with his schemes. Maybe then she will be able to get her life back on track.
I really enjoyed my first visit to Normal, Kentucky. The residents are some really quirky characters but most of them have huge hearts and are full of Southern hospitality. Mae is just 30 years old, Paul was 61, she thought she had a good life and never imagined things would turn out this way. I did come to admire the way she handled herself after her little pity party. She makes a real transformation over the course of these pages. I enjoyed the development of all the characters although I did have a few issues with the behavior of a certain FBI agent. It just felt off for that position. He seemed more a folksy small-town sheriff instead of a serious Special Agent for the FBI.
The mystery was pretty straight forward and I ferreted out the guilty party quite quickly but I continued to read the story all in one sitting and was very entertained. I did enjoy how the killer was revealed, it had an exciting few moments.
For me, Beaches, Bungalows, & Burglaries was a fresh, light read and a great way to spend a couple of hours.
Tonya Kappes is a writing machine. I have wanted to read this story/series since it was released but got discouraged as more and more books came out and I kept getting further behind. It will probably take me forever to catch up but I was very excited when a mini reading challenge gave me the opportunity to read this book and get started. Now I want to keep reading them all but with my reading commitments that is going to take time. I really want to delve deeper into the craziness of Normal so I am going to squeeze them in when I can.
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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.”