X Marks the Murder: A Wendy Grace Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Independently Published (April 2, 2021)
Paperback : 273 pages
ISBN-10 : 1940800285
ISBN-13 : 978-1940800288
Kindle ASIN : B091MQ9YR1
She went looking for buried treasure. What she found was far more sinister.
Discover your new favorite amateur sleuth!
Wendy Grace has just retired after thirty years of teaching grade school. She and her second husband, James, have moved to the tiny town of Wandering Cove on the idyllic Oregon coast and are looking forward to filling the second half of their lives with new adventures. But Wendy did not expect that those new adventures would include murder!
On a seemingly bucolic Saturday afternoon, Wendy heads out with a local metal detector and shipwreck historian to try her hand at metal detecting on the beach right by her new home. As the historian regales Wendy with stories of the local shipwreck and its legendary lost treasure, Wendy is prepared to find the ubiquitous bottle caps, dropped coins, and maybe a lost bit of jewelry. What she ultimately discovers, however, is far more sinister.
While working on the challenge of identifying the victim, Wendy quickly digs up more long-buried secrets than anyone expected.
Back in April this book was offered for free on Amazon and knowing I needed an “X” book for my Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge I snapped it up and I am so happy that I did.
In X Marks the Murder we meet retired schoolteacher, Wendy Grace and her husband documentary filmmaker, James. They have just moved to Wandering Cove on the Oregon Coast. James can work from anywhere and he just wanted Wendy to be happy, plus they are now closer to his children and Wendy hopes maybe her kids will visit and fall in love with the place too. As you can tell both have been married before.
They had just moved and have been getting settled but James needs to make a quick day trip to Los Angeles so Wendy decides to scope out the town herself and finds herself at the Community Center and attending a lecture about local shipwrecks. There she meets Chester Edwards. A very active elderly man who has a passion for metal detecting along the beach and in the caves and coves. Wendy admits she is looking for some new hobbies so he offers to take her metal detecting that afternoon. He brings her a top-of-the-line detector and has an even better one for himself. A quick lesson and both are methodically sweeping back on forth and as he shares with her some shipwreck stories. But after finding several pull tabs from cans of soda Wendy makes some deadly discoveries. First a bullet, then a metal bracelet still attached to a very dead body.
I really enjoyed this story. The characters were very well developed for the first book in a series. I got to know them quickly, their backstories, their children, several residents of Wandering Cove, and how they fit together. I was totally invested in their lives just halfway through the book. Ms. Stucky did a great job. All the characters are relatable and seem very genuine
I love Wendy’s confident independence. She struck out to get to know people, she kept her eyes and ears open and openly tried to get to the bottom of the murder. After teaching children for 30 years she has a keen sense about people. She is an excellent protagonist.
The investigation was different because the small town of Wandering Cove does not have a police force. they have a Community Officer, Trish, who coordinates whatever services made be needed for any situation. Wendy got to know her very well as she kept uncovering relevant clues sometimes with an assist from James and his family. His sons’ have a unique business that ended up being all tangled up in the investigation. The mystery had some great twists and secrets revealed. I felt it was different from the customary cozy mystery where the amateur sleuth is always the ire of the local police.
The author does an excellent job of setting the scene. I could easily imagine every place Wendy Grace went from her beachside home, the local bar, the cove where the body was found, and Coveside Farm, “the family business”. It was a complete pleasure to travel all around Wandering Cove.
The story does have some typos and a few unusual passages where the wording just doesn’t work. I would love it if the author would just do one more read-through and clean up these issues so they don’t ruin the flow of the story.
I feel the main job of a book is to entertain and this story did that. It also tested my mind as I followed the clues with Wendy. I am very excited to see what the author has planned for these characters. I had planned to give this book a 4-star rating because of the errors I mentioned above but writing this review was really easy because I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts with you so I am not holding back. This book was a Perfect Escape and deserves this rating.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About the Author
Once, when Pam was quite young, she went to the library looking for books on magic. The librarian directed her to a different kind of books than those she was used to. She was used to books with pictures, or at the very least with a drawing at the beginning of each chapter. (She was very, very young.) These books about magic had a lot of words, and were written in a very small font, compared to what she was used to. She was skeptical.
Nonetheless, she took the books home and started reading. Until, with disgust, she realized these books weren’t about *magic*; they were about magic *tricks*. She had wanted to do real magic. Disillusioned, she returned the books to the library.
Then one day, she realized it is booked themselves that are magic.
In books, everything is possible.
Find out more about Pam at www.pamstucky.com.
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.”