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A Life for a Life

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  80 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A burned-out reporter. A mysterious death. A case that could cost her everything ...

Laurel Falls, N.C., 1985. Della Kincaid thought she was escaping to a quiet life in the Appalachians. After decades writing about gruesome murders and shady politicians, she's ready to settle into a relaxed life. But she discovers a corpse while hiking and is thrust back into a world of de
Paperback, 331 pages
Published September 2016 by Lynda McDaniel Books (first published August 25th 2016)
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  80 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Laura Thomas
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There’s nothing I love more in a mystery than a mixed bag of characters. They need to read as genuine, make mistakes, be flawed, and I don’t necessarily need to like them. They ned to evoke an emotional response from me.

I also need the author to hide bread crumbs throughout her tale, keeping me busy sniffing them out, and leading me down blind alleys.

I got all of that and then some. Just loved this book. The setting was fascinating. And the descriptions of the area were quite visual. I also drew
Kathleen Kelly
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reporter, Della Kincaid, has decided to move from Washington, D.C to Laurel Falls, N.C for a simpler life. While walking in the woods she is surprised when a man runs past her saying that "there was a body". Della and her dog do come across a body of a young woman, a supposed suicide. Della does not believe this, in spite of the suicide note.

Della enlists the help of numerous people in the community and Washington as it becomes apparent that the sheriff won't do anything to investigate the death
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it

What a delightful book. I felt like I was being taken back in time when things were a lot slower and less hectic. The characters are so real and it is wonderful to see how Aibt grows into a young man with the help of Della, a store owner in a small town of North Carolina. Along the way we meet the people who live in the small town and learn about their lives. This is a slow paced mystery but it was a satisfying read. Not a page-turner though. A 3.5 star.
Sharon Grow
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Della Kincaid and her dog Jake, find the body of young woman in the woods surrounding her home in Laurel Falls, North Carolina. The woman is unknown to the members of the small town and the sheriff is sure that the woman committed suicide. Della and her friends are not so sure. Della, who now owns the local store, was once a reporter in Washington D.C. and is determined to find out what happened to the woman, even asking for help from her ex-husband, Alex. Della befriends a young man with learni ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the most satisfying mystery I have read in ages. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The characters are the strongest aspect of this novel and they are delightful. Della Kinkaid bought a small grocery store in rural Applachia, making a new life for herself. She'd been a high profile reporter in Washington, D.C. but had had enough of the pressure and danger. When the body of a young woman is found in the woods, Della revives her reporter instincts and will not let the murder go unsolved.

My favorite
Kevin Keith
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first of (so far) three books about an unlikely duo caught up in the local mysteries that pop up in a mountain hamlet in rural North Carolina, "A Life for a Life" introduces the fish-out-of-water investigator and her equally outsider sidekick, along with what will obviously be the recurring cast of colorful local yokels and flamboyant big-city contacts. The story gives us a sense of each of their characters, and the slightly awkward friendship that develops between the two protagonists. Alon ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cozy mystery fans
Recommended to Skjam! by: Goodreads
Disclaimer: I received a download of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway to facilitate writing this review. No other compensation was requested or offered.

There’s big doings down to Coburn’s Country Store. The new owner, Della Kincaid, used to be a big-city reporter in Washington, D.C. She’s fixed the place up nice, settling into life in this rural North Carolina community, and taken a sisterly interest in Abit, the learning-challenged boy who lives next door. She enjoys walks in the mountain
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A Life for a Life: Lynda McDaniel

Stereotyping people is wrong and even misdiagnosing a student or older person because they appear to you on the surface to be mentally challenged or slow is not always the case. When the book opens we meet ABT a young man who befriended the other voice heard throughout this novel. Her name is Della and she too has a difficult past as this young man finds himself sitting outside of her store everyday a murder is committed in the woods not far away as Della and her
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I very rarely read books that are straight mysteries. The mysteries that I read have thriller and/or psychological elements in them. To be honest, I was getting a tad bored reading them. So when I got the invite to review A Life for a Life and read the synopsis, I decided that I needed a change. I am glad that I decided to read this book. It was a well-written mystery that kept me guessing to the end.

The plotline for A Life for a Life was very simple. Della, a former reporter now running a count
Stanley McShane
Protagonist Della Kincaid is a former DC reporter who fled from a failed marriage, years of tension, deadlines, and subtly veiled threats regarding her stories. She's bought a small mom and pop general store in the North Carolina holler of Laurel Falls and "inherited" the 15-year-old slightly learning disabled porch resident, Abit Bradshaw (son of the previous owners), and mixed breed, mid-sized doggy Jake. It was when she was hiking the woods with Jake that she encounters the body of a young wo ...more
Rita Kroon
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Della Kinkaid escapes to the rural mountains of NC in order to flee the hassles as a reporter in D.C. It didn't work. She discovers the body of a young woman deep in the woods, and Della gets embroiled in the investigation. The lazy sheriff says suicide, Kinkaid says murder. Without her usual resources for chasing down the truth, Kinkaid turns to an offbeat cast of characters - an elderly friend Cleva, her ex-husband Alex, and next-door neighbor, Abit, a challenged teenage boy who's spent his en ...more
Julie Failla Earhart
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this first book in the Appalachian Mountain mystery series, readers are introduced to Della Kincaid and Abit.

Della has left Washington, D.C., looking for a new start. She spotted a for sale sign on a boarded up store as she took the long way back to D.C. after a week’s vacation in the Black Mountains. A former investigative reporter and newly divorced, Della was looking for a quiet, more predictable life.

At first, the local townspeople weren’t too keen on the new arrival, with the exception
Ana Manwaring
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lynda McDaniel’s cozy mystery, A Life for a Life, is one of the most satisfying books I’ve read this year. Everything about the book delighted me. I want to know more about the quirky folks in the North Carolina mountains and their southern customs.

The story is a cloze puzzle with protagonists Della, a former high-profile Washington D.C. journalist, and Abit, a somewhat “slow” fifteen-year-old local, meting out information in chapters of alternating points of view. The book commences with a pro
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A quiet, flowing mystery that reflects the slower, gentler pace of the South that we all imagine. McDaniel has a very thoughtful style that allows for a division of perspectives leading to little confusion or “catch up” effort on the part of the reader. Sometimes authors become so enamored with their narrative divisions and games that they forget that the reader does not live in their headspace with them. This writer is very aware of her readership and the plotline progresses along a very logica ...more
Wall-to-wall books - wendy
Very nice little mystery! The whole story had a very authentic feel to it. The story flips back and forth between the point of view of Abit, a fifteen yr old who is a bit delayed, and Della, a woman who runs the local general store, former reporter. I really like books that do this. I have to say this is probably my favorite way for a book to be written. I like getting inside the mind of two different characters.

I loved the dialog and conversations. All the characters were so real feeling. I rea
Charles Ray
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
After a messy divorce, DC writer Della Kincaid moved to Laurel Falls, NC and bought a failing general store. With the help of the former owner’s developmentally challenged son, Vester ‘Abit’ Bradshaw, she gets it up and running, and is beginning to slowly become an almost accepted part of the community. Then, while out walking one day, she finds the body of a young woman and her world starts to come apart at the seams. The sheriff calls it suicide, but she’s not so sure. When she and Abit start ...more
Deb Wade
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, set in the Appalachian mountain ranges and told from the viewpoint of two characters. Bella, new to the area and trying to make a go of owning a country store and Abit, a young local man with learning difficulties who has been pulled from school and who is given some work by Bella.

Bella discovers a dead body and, although the local sherif is determined to write it off as a suicide, feels determined to solve the murder. This slow boiler is delightfully filled with
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book about people in the Appalachian mountains. Della wanted to move out of her town and ended up in this little town called Laurel Falls She bought a little grocery store from the owners who lived next door. They had a son who liked to sit on the stores porch all the time . His dad called him Abit cause he was abit slow. His dad took him out of school when he was young yet. Abit ended up helping Della at the store do things for her. Della finds a girl dead and the sheriff said it ...more
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the story about a reporter from Washington DC who leaves a broken marriage and threats. As she’s driving through the Laurel Falls she sees a for sale sign on a struggling store and stops. What happens next? Della and her dog Jake find a body in the woods and the Sherriff says it’s suicide. Della disagrees so she decides to investigate. Without her usual reporter resources she enlists the help of some of her new friends, a neighbour everyone calls Abit, an elderly woman named Cleva and ev ...more
Anne D
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of Lynda McDaniels book "A Life For A Life" from Voracious Readers Only in return for amnesty review of the book.

This book is a good mystery which is told through the voices of the two main characters Abit and Della. It flips back and forth and we are given a clear picture of the small town and the mystery they face.

I enjoyed how this book described how a rural town deals with the death of a stranger and a new person moving into the town. This book is a quick read with a unlike
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There was something extremely special about this book and, for me, it wasn't the mystery. What it was struck me from the first paragraph I read bout Abit. The growing relationship between this young man and the adults who were not an original part of his community was so important and showed how we accept what we learn from the life we grow up in and that allows us to accept less than who we really are. The interaction was unique and it left me looking for more Thank you to an excellent author.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It gives a welcoming insight in to life in rural Appalachia, such great writing and details allow you to picture yourself among the townsfolk and inside the country store. The two main characters are very likable, especially Abit who I found myself championing for through the whole story. The murder mystery definitely kept me intrigued with a few turns along the way. A great quick read.

I received a download of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. My review is
Diane Griffiths
This book is a good look back into life in rural Appalacia and a murder to boot. The characters were accessible and seemed real to me. Was interesting to see how Abit grows into a young man with some help of the store owner Della. The story was slow paced and did not grab me, but I did enjoy reading it.

Mar 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf-19
This was a giveaway from the author in exchange for an honest review. She compared it to Lianne Moriarty novels, which I very much enjoy.

I tried to like this book, but I found it to be laborious to read, with poor descriptives and predictable dialogue.

I really tried to like it. I made it thru 30% of the book and gave up. It went on the DNF-19 shelf.

Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a Complimentary copy of this book from Voracious Readers Only.
I ENJOYED this book!!
There are a few storylines that blend seamlessly with the plot.
The main characters were Great and very likeable.
This book is well written.
It has messages woven into the story
about treating everyone with respect
and living our best life!!
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good story, however it has a lot of political references and number of uses of the f-word.

A good story, but rushed ending. Also political which threw me. Not usual for a mystery. Writing was good, and this seemed like a clean read but then numerous f-words. Anti-Christian rhetoric. Overall, an uneven experience.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story.about a city woman going to the Appalachians and making friends with a sweet young boy who needs to be loved. This is Book 1 of a trilogy that provides great characters, steadfast friends, a little knowledge of the hills, the bluegrass music, woodworking, Washington, DC, a mystery, and a heartwarming story with some feisty scenes. On to Book 2, The Road to Damascus...
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
A look into life in rural Appalacia and a murder, too. Nice writing, limited dialogue, flat characters...although they were not run of the mill, and cheesy ending to go with the title. Probably will not read any more in this series.
Sherri Smith
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great mystery

I was fortunate enough to get this as a Goodreads First Read, and I loved it!! It was a wonderful mystery and really picked up the flavor of the Appalachian area!! I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next one!
Calleen Petersen
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the beginning the backwoods speech of Abit bothered me. A lot. But I loved that in the end he was given the chance to reach his potential.
The murder seems almost like a side note. The book really isn’t about the murder, which surprised me.
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I love writing page-turners--both fiction and non-fiction. And I love helping others to do the same, living into their dreams of writing books. I believe my success comes down to a respect for my readers. I know I am easily bored, so I work hard to engage and inspire my readers.

I got my start as a writer in the most unlikely place--a town of 200 people in the mountains of North Carolina. But livin