JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)'s Reviews > Diggin' Up Dirt

Diggin' Up Dirt by Tonya Kappes
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it was amazing
bookshelves: mysteries

Sheriff Kenni Lowry is doing her duty as sheriff in Cottonwood, Kentucky - a small southern town - by attending the funeral of one of the locals, Woody Moss. It's there that she overhears and sees Woody's grandson Rich, a bad apple if there ever was one, arguing with Avon Meyers, who was Woody's physical therapist. Once she assures herself everything is fine, she leaves, because right now she has another problem:

Her boyfriend, Deputy Finn Vincent, has just informed her that his parents have arrived in town to meet Kenni and her parents. What should be a meet-and-greet supper at her parents' home turns into much more when both sets discover that they're different religions, and in a small community like Cottonwood, that's not a good thing; and leads to a verbal confrontation that doesn't end well.

But Kenni soon has to put the problems with the parents aside when she finds out a young woman has been murdered - even before anyone knows it's a murder. How? Because her deceased grandfather, 'Poppa', who was sheriff before her, shows up in her truck as she's heading to the scene. Her Poppa's ghost only appears when there's a murder to solve, so they're together again to solve the murder of Avon, who was found dead by a single gunshot at close range.

Then after having a conversation with Finn he tells her he doesn't want to be a deputy his entire life, and after an incident or two she's convinced he wants her job, which both angers and saddens her. This, of course, only adds to her problems, along with the fact that she has a new part-time deputy she'd like to make full-time.

So Kenni has her hands full, trying to juggle her relationship with Finn, her parents, his parents, and the murder of a young woman. It's not an easy task for a sheriff, especially since she's the only one (besides her dog Duke) who can see and hear her Poppa. But without him, her job in finding a killer might just get a lot harder with few clues and a disappearing suspect...

I have to say that I love this series. Kenni is a complicated woman. She's constantly fighting against her mama's ideas of what she should be, is running a two (maybe three) person department that's in the back of a restaurant, and trying to juggle a relationship that's still in the stages of 'where do we go from here?' It's not an easy job, but she does her best, not to mention constantly worrying about whether she's going to be reelected or not when the time comes.

But when Avon is found dead in a park, she has to figure out who put her there, and who hated her enough to want her dead. What seems like an open and shut case turns out not to be so, but the clues, such as they are, eventually lead down a different path entirely, and even that path might be more confusing than not.

It's a tale that's full of both Kenni trying to do her job and trying to handle her personal life without having them both come together at the same time, which is nearly impossible when you have a mother like hers; Vivian doesn't have boundaries where Kenni's concerned, and is trying her darnedest to get her daughter married so she can have grandbabies (I can't even imagine a mother who would hound you about this). It helps that although Viv has a one-track mind, she's also a very likable character. I've actually warmed up to her quite a bit, because for all her faults, she fiercely loves her daughter and will go to any lengths to make sure she's happy. There's a mama bear protection there that's enviable to a lot of people.

The mystery is done very well; the subplots are woven in together so nicely that what seems like random acts come together in a deliberate way, and it all leads to a story that is entertaining to read. As always, the characters are delightful and the community a tight knit one; they're a quirky bunch that have each other's back in all situations.

When the ending comes and the murderer is revealed it's a surprise, but that's how it should be. I have to say that it's always a pleasure to visit with the townsfolk of Cottonwood, I enjoyed it immensely, and look forward to the next book. Recommended.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 2, 2019 – Shelved
May 2, 2019 – Shelved as: mysteries

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