"Small-town secrets and smothered anger". Shelley Freydont hit the nail on the head in her latest mystery, Independence Slay. Why do so many cozy mysteries occur in small towns or closed communities? "Small-town secrets and smothered anger". And, in the case of the Celebration Bay mysteries, Liv Montgomery, an outsider, is the perfect person to dig into those secrets. For some reason, the people in Celebration Bay trust the town's new event coordinator with their secrets.
It's time for the traditional Fourth of July observances in town, but Liv and her assistant, Ted Driscoll, know there's trouble when the signal for the Revolutionary War reenactment is wrong. Instead of one, there were two signals, but the ghost of Henry Gallantine wasn't supposed to send an SOS signal. When Liv and Ted rush to the Gallantine mansion, they find a dead man, and a cowering young man who insists the ghost killed the victim. With this generation's Henry Gallantine missing, a witness who is terrorized, and her partner-in-investigation, the town's newspaper editor, awol, Liv's determined to find answers.
The secrets surrounding the Gallantine mansion seem to be drawing unwanted attention from too many people including someone claiming to be the new owner, and a relative of the missing Henry Gallantine. Then, Liv discovers anyone local could get into the house through a secret entranceway. Emotions are running high in town, and everyone is troubled. "Everyone was affected when something like this happened, and they couldn't get back to normal until the crisis was over."
Shelley Freydont skillfully manipulates the story and the characters for a perfect example of a small-town traditional mystery with an amateur sleuth. And, she handles the conclusion wonderfully, with a scene reminiscent of so many mysteries. As Liv Montgomery's foil is fond of pointing out, since Liv has been the event coordinator, the town seems to celebrate murder as much as it celebrates holidays. Looking for a tourist spot that offers excitement, humor, an odd take on history, and a murder or two? Check out Celebration Bay, New York, in the latest holiday observance, Independence Slay.
Shelley Freydont's website is www.shelleyfreydont.com
Independence Slay by Shelley Freydont. Berkley Prime Crime, 2014. ISBN 9780425252567 (paperback), 297p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.