Portrait Of A Dead Guy by Larissa Reinhart is the first book in the “Cherry Tucker” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, August 2012

In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge–but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.

As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.

All Cherry wanted to do was earn some money and if that means doing a portrait of a dead guy, then so be it. But havoc ensues when Cherry is attacked and her curiosity is peaked as she suspects there’s more to his accidental death and thus begins her quest to clear her name and fight off the bad guys.

I could not put down this fast-paced, action-filled and fun romp in this debut novel that had me laughing out-loud from beginning to end. The eccentrically quirky people that inhabit Halo, Georgia were a delight: from spitfire Cherry to handsome ex-fiancé Todd to old foe Shawna and to Luke the man who bedazzles Cherry. The mystery was good and every time I thought I knew who was responsible, the author changed direction with plenty of twists and turns at the corners. Boasting southern charm and engagingly amusing banter, this was very enjoyable and a great start to what I hope is a long-running series.

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