Big Lies In A Small Town – Diane Chamberlain

It’s 2018, and Morgan Christopher is currently incarcerated in the North Carolina Prison System. She had been a third-year art student when she was involved in a motor vehicle accident that left another young woman paralyzed. A year into her sentence, she is still struggling with the truth of her situation, when a guard summons her to a visitation room.  Upon entering the room, she finds two women waiting for her, one of whom is a lawyer, and they have an amazing proposition for her. 

Morgan has somehow caught the eye of a famous artist who has recently died. While she is well acquainted with his work, she cannot fathom how he could possibly have known her, nor how he would have chosen her for the project she’s being offered – the opportunity to be paroled and to restore an old mural that was originally planned to hang in the Edenton, NC Post Office.  However, the offer comes with a catch. The work on the mural must be completed in two months’ time.  Desperate to be free, Morgan accepts the offer.

In 1939, a young Anna Dale receives a letter from the US Treasury, indicating that she has won a contest; she is the artist selected to create a mural for the Edenton, NC Post Office. Having recently lost her ailing mother, Anna opts to take a short trip to explore the small waterfront town of Edenton, to gain a flavor for the town, and gain ideas for the painting. A young woman living in New Jersey, she’s aware of the divisions that still exist between races south of the Mason Dixon line and hopes to design a mural to honor all of the residents of this small southern town. Embraced by the townspeople, she opts to remain in Edenton until completion of the mural.   

As Morgan gets herself settled in her benefactor’s home in Edenton, she’s appalled by the shape that the mural is in when she finally lays eyes on it – mildew, scratches and abraded areas of paint adorn the canvas, and with no experience in restoring old works, she’s realizing there’s likely no way she’ll be able to complete this project to its specifications. As she slowly works to uncover the images, she becomes very intrigued by the painter Anna Dale, who seemingly disappeared after the mural was painted. And why was the mural hidden away and never installed in its place of honor? 

Told from both Anna’s time and Morgan’s present, this story will immerse you into a past southern culture, where the color of your skin dictated your very freedom, as it very quickly draws you in, captures your heart, and has you frantically flipping pages as you’re cheering Morgan on, and yearning to know what became of young Anna.  I originally chose this book because of its NC setting, and my visits to the town of Edenton, and I’m so glad I did – this story is totally enchanting!!  An absolute gem!! 

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.  Do you love to read?? Visit and start reviewing books today!!

Let Justice Descend – Lisa Black

Detective’s Jack Renner & Thomas Riley are back again along with forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner, as the trio investigates the cruel and calculated death of a sitting US Senator, Ohio Republican Diane Cragin, by electrocution, two days before the national elections. Long accused by her Democrat opponent of accepting kickbacks, the investigating team is quite surprised when they find a hidden safe containing close to a million dollars in cash. Known to be corrupt himself, opponent Joey Green becomes a quick suspect. 

A visit to the Republican Offices, features an unwanted interaction with Cleveland Herald reporter Lori Russo, who has been determined to discover the identity of the killer of a series of vigilante murders – the killings of some of the countries’ most ruthless criminals – that occurred over the last several months. As Jack has recently been named the lead investigator of those killings, and unbeknownst to anyone other than Maggie (or we readers), is the perpetrator of said crimes, he has no desire to be anywhere near her. As she begins to pester him with questions, he is able to re-direct the conversation, but not before learning of her plans to visit some old murder sites in Arizona. Concerned, Jack vows to keep an eye on her. 

As the investigative team dives into the political arena looking for answers, it becomes quickly apparent that everyone has an agenda, as well as potential motives to have killed Senator Cragin, as everyone interviewed points the finger at someone else. A visit to the EPA indicates that Diane may have been involved in obtaining a contract for a less than competent company to renovate the local water intake facility, with potentially deadly consequences. A seeming heart attack in another high-profile individual leads the team in yet another direction as the deaths begin to multiply, and the investigation appears to come full circle, with a completely unexpected ending…or not…

I’m very late in getting this review completed – however it seems quite apropos given the political machinations taking place in our world today. But, for me, this was a great mystery with some unique characters, a Dexter like detective, the woman who is drawn to him, and a deep, yet telling look into the political world that has become so difficult to stomach lately, all of which leaves me wanting more!

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.  Do you love to read?? Visit and start reviewing books today!!