A Deadly Row by Casey Mayes is the first in the new “Mystery By The Numbers” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), September 2010

Savannah Stone has always been a math whiz. So it’s only natural that she makes a living creating puzzles that can test any puzzler’s mind.

Savannah is happily churning out some tricky puzzles in the rural beauty of North Carolina when a call comes for her husband, Zach—a retired police chief who now does consulting work. The Charlotte police need his help, and Savannah goes along for the ride—to support her loving hubby.

Mayor Grady Winslow has been receiving sinister threats from a killer. The clues show that Winslow is intended to be the next victim in a twisted game. Savannah gets bumped from supporting role to key player as this is one puzzle she might be able to solve—before the next box to be filled is the mayor’s coffin.

This was a great read. We are introduced to Zach Stone, medically retired from the police and his wife Savannah who creates puzzles for newspapers. Zach, now consultant for the police, is asked to come back to Charlotte to help solve a murder, especially since the mayor may be the next victim. I liked how the plot was played out as each turn of the page revealed more clues as to the identity of the killer. I had my suspect and enjoyed watching the author put several red herrings to throw me off. It was fun meeting Savannah’s uncle and figuring out the mystery of the hotel owner who was very gracious towards the Stones. A good plot and likable characters made this a fun read. I’m looking forward to solving more adventures with Zach and Savannah. My rating: 4 stars

Casey Mayes is the pseudonym of Tim Myers

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

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