Guilt is Midnight Blue
by Josalyn McAllister
About Guilt Is Midnight Blue
Guilt is Midnight Blue: A Hazel Dean Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Eburnean Books (May 6, 2021)
Paperback: 290 pages
Digital ASIN : B0949QG9H1
Hazel Dean can see other’s emotions in color.
She mostly uses it to help people find the perfect book in her shop, Books and Chocolate. But, when one of her customers is murdered, the police point to an old feud. Only Hazel can tell that the accused is innocent. She must navigate around her district attorney husband, and her surrogate uncle, the police captain, to find out what really happened.
Hazel drives, hikes and snoops all over her small Appalachian town in an attempt to bring peace to the victim’s family and prevent her community from being torn apart by old grudges.
Cash McCleary needed to escape. His brother’s plan was dangerous and could get them in serious trouble. Driving around the old mill catches his eye. Someone has fixed it up. Beneath the ancient Red Gao Mill sign, there is a new sign, Chocolate and Books. Not much of a reader it is not a place he would usually visit and the last place his brother would look. He enters and sees books are stacked everywhere, four aisles, ten bookcases, and books were stacked almost to the ceiling. There seems to be no method of organization. He keeps walking through an almost tunnel of books until he reaches a bright open space. The entire back wall is glass with an amazing view of the North Georgia Mountains. He also notices the bakery counter and all the chocolates treats it holds. The place feels downright magical.
Hazel Randolph Dean is the owner of the place and she surprises Cash with her presence. Introductions are made and she immediately serves him a huge cup of her special hot chocolate. He admits he isn’t a reader and she replied, “Nonsense, you just haven’t found the right book yet.” She disappears among the stacks and returns with To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Again she disappears and he quickly finds himself immersed in the world of Jem and Scout. Later he has to leave and Hazel makes him a deal and he agrees to take the book with him.
You see Hazel Dean has a gift. She sees other people’s emotions in color and that helps her to match the right book to the right person.
Time passes and a little boy comes into her shop. A boy she sees is full of emotions. She then realizes this boy is Cash’s little brother. Blackness is filling in the space all around him. She knows something is terribly wrong. He has Cash’s book and says he wanted her to have it back. He then goes on to tell her Cash is dead. He was shot, two days ago. She hugs the boy and he leaves but she just can’t let it go, she has to know what happened. The police say it was the old feud between the McCleary’s and Trudgeon’s but that doesn’t fit with what she sees and is feeling. With a district attorney husband and her “Uncle” John, the police captain she feels she can get to the bottom of what really happened never imagining what the next days were going to bring or the danger she would be in.
I escaped into this book the same way Cash escaped into To Kill A Mockingbird.
Hazel Dean was a determined woman with a fascinating gift. She believes the man accused of Cash’s murder is innocent because the color around him is not the midnight blue she sees around a guilty party. She just can’t let an innocent man go to prison. Her husband is a smart man and trusts her gift but he wants to keep her safe. She also has two teenage sons to keep her busy and they know Cash’s brother which makes the case more personal for the family. Aside from Hazel’s gift and money she received after her parent’s death the Dean’s are your typical American family. The characters develop very realistically throughout the story.
The murder mystery is super intriguing and Hazel finds clues in very interesting places. It also leads her to meet a very unique person that has ties to several would-be suspects. Hazel goes to great lengths to get answers and she puts herself and later her husband too into precarious situations. My eyes were glued to the pages as they were flying by. Ms. McAllister really drew me in and if Hazel could have seen me I would have been surrounded by several colors as my emotions ran the gambit while I was reading. Gosh, it was truly impossible to put this book down. Hazel had her theories and I was on board with her until we were both surprised by a twist. The big reveal did not just encompass one moment either. I was on the edge of my seat from Chapter Eighteen until Chapter Twenty-Three and then that was replaced by some tears because something I had suspected and dismissed played out.
Guilt is Midnight Blue was such a compelling and powerful read. I am now fully invested in Hazel and her family so I am excited that this is just book one of the series and not a stand-alone mystery. Hazel has a unique ability and her Chocolate and Books is a great place to bring new people into her life. I can’t imagine what the author has in store for Hazel but I am anxious to find out.
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About Josalyn McAllister
Josalyn McAllister is a cozy fiction author whose most recent works include Love Over Easy and Guilt is Midnight Blue. Josalyn started writing character descriptions at the tender age of seven, inspired by the works of LM Montgomery. In her teenage years, she moved on to Newsies fan fiction. Inspired by National Novel Writing Month, she wrote her first novel about a child she mentored in college. She has never stopped writing. Josalyn taught middle school history before deciding she would rather spend time with her own children than other peoples. A restless soul, she has moved all over the country and collected an eclectic array of hobbies. Her writing has a relatable quality that will charm and entertain you.
Great Escapes Praise for Guilt is Midnight Blue
by Josalyn McAllister
Hazel Dean is a firecracker. Her superpower is being able to read people’s emotions and more importantly to fit the right book to the perfect reader. Color me jealous (the pun is unintended, but I will enjoy it anyway)
~I Read What You Write!
I fell in love with this town in Appalachia and the people. I especially liked the take on the feud between the Trudgeon’s and McCleary’s much like the Hatfield and the McCoys . . . This may be a new favorite series and I can’t wait to see what happens next for Hazel. We give it 5 paws up.
I was caught up in the story right away, meeting Hazel’s family . . . and learning of her determination to free an innocent man despite the risks she has to take . . . You will totally enjoy this book, have your heart-strings pulled by the characters, and hold your breath in the suspense scenes.
~Here’s How It Happened
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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.”