A Dead Red Cadillac by RP Dahlke is the first book in the “Lalla Bains” mystery series. Publisher: Dead Bear Publishing, March 2011

“I’ve been married so many times, they should revoke my license,” says NY model, and reluctant pilot Lalla Bains.

Running her dad’s Crop-Dusting business in Modesto, California she’s hoping to dodge the inevitable fortieth birthday party. But when her trophy red ’58 Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask why a widowed piano teacher, who couldn’t possibly see beyond the hood ornament, was found strapped in the driver’s seat.

Reeling from an interrogation with local homicide, Lalla is determined to extricate herself as a suspect in this strange murder case. Unfortunately, drug running pilots, a cross-dressing convict, a crazy Chihuahua, and the dead woman’s hunky nephew throw enough road blocks to keep Lalla neck deep in an investigation that links her family to a twenty-year old murder only she can solve.

I like Lalla. She’s head strong, opinionated, gutsy and yet vulnerable. When her precious caddy is found tail out with a dead body inside in a nearby lake, Lalla is quickly under suspicion. When it appears that an old case may have some implications to this murder, Lalla begins an investigation to clear and protects her family’s name.

This was a good drama with a solid plot that kept me turning the pages. The author did a good job at keeping me guessing with the many twists and turns in the direction this mystery, a bit gritty, was taking. With a likable supporting cast that includes Caleb and Roxanne and good conversations, especially those tinged with humor, this was a good read and I look forward to the next book in this enjoyable series.

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