Today is release day for Susan M. Boyer's debut mystery, Lowcountry Boil. And, it's quite a debut. This terrific traditional mystery has been nominated for both the Golden Heart Award from Romance Writers of America as well as the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, Mainstream Category (unpublished division). Anyone who enjoys a solid traditional mystery set in the South will be glad Henery Press, a small independent publisher, recognized Boyer's ability.
Meet Liz Talbot, the private investigator who is the sleuth in Boyer's Liz Talbot mysteries. For six years, she's been a partner with Nate Andrews in Talbot & Andrews, a private investigative firm in Greenville, South Carolina. Her grandmother's unexpected death sends her home to Stella Maris, a small sea island near Charleston. But, when her brother, the local police chief, tells her Gram was murdered, she packs up to move to the house she inherited, and find a killer.
There's nothing like a small town for gossip. And, an island community is even worse. In a town where long-time residents are members of the city council, Liz finds herself caught up in local politics, local secrets, and murder. If the spirit of her long-dead best friend wasn't whispering in her ear, Liz would have a harder time keeping up with the soap opera of estranged lovers, disinherited family members, and land grabs. As she searches for answers, she has to remember one cardinal rule of life on the island. "It was all about the land. Protecting the land was a religion in our world. Land was power in our world."
Boyer has introduced readers to a strong-willed new private investigator with a love of family, friends, and home. Liz is perfectly at home on her southern island with her golden retriever, Rhett, her gun in her Kate Spade handbag, and grits for breakfast at the local restaurant. While she uses colloquialisms such as "Rhett woke fine as frog hair", she's a shrewd sleuth who loves technology. Liz Talbot is a Southern Belle for modern times and modern mysteries.
Humor, a little romance, a charming location, and an intelligent detective with a few idiosyncrasies. Top it off with a murder mystery with a host of suspects. Lowcountry Boil might be Susan M. Boyer's first mystery, but it's an outstanding debut. Here's hoping Liz Talbot mysteries become a staple in the mystery field.
Susan M. Boyer's website is www.susanmboyerbooks.com
Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer. Henery Press. 2012. ISBN 9781938383045 (paperback), 408p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.