The Blurb Reads
The peaceful farming community of Deer Creek is nestled in the rolling hills of Wyoming County in Western New York. It’s home to Gracie Andersen, who once again finds herself in a cemetery, laying a family member to rest. Wrestling with unresolved guilt and grief over the loss of her husband and unborn child, Gracie desperately wants to get her life back. An odd gift from her troubled uncle thrusts her into an investigation of her cousin’s tragic death 20 years ago. What really happened that rainy, October night when her cousin was killed by a hit-and-run driver? As pieces of the truth are wrenched from the past, her new business, Milky Way Kennels teeters on the edge of disaster. Her life starts to tailspin, and opposition to the investigation comes from friends and family alike. And then death strikes again. With Haley, her black Labrador by her side, Gracie doggedly pursues the truth of her cousin Charlotte’s untimely death.
The story starts with a funeral. Gracie has a spar with funerals. Grief over her husband and unborn child cloud her mind. But this is the death of her Aunt Shirley. Her favorite Uncle Stan gives her a gift which pushes her into the past and exposes her to a grave danger.
There is only so much digging you can do into the past, when you live in a small town. Everyone knows everybody else and secrets are gossiped about for many years. Why then would her uncle want her to have her cousin’s diary? In a span of 3-4 days, Gracie finds herself into a conspiracy that there was a cover up, many years back when her cousin died. She finds her kennel being targeted. While no damage is done, Gracie finds herself in the thick of things. Who is at the bottom of all this and mainly, WHY?!
Family Matters is a deceptively simple book. It starts out as a few random acts of vandalism before it all connects in the end. I did have a few suspects narrowed down and I did think about the actual killer. I didn’t expect the book to end that way?!! No I certainly didn’t.
I enjoyed the simplicity of this book. There was a charming way that the book drew you in and introduced you to the characters and involved you in the story. It was almost like those shows where you solve the murder/ mystery along with the characters from the show. I loved Gracie. She reminded me a little of me and I love books which strike close to home!!
The mystery isn’t a hard boiled thriller which will leave you breathless. This is one of those books which you read and then feel the rush from solving a mystery and that’s that. However having said that, I did enjoy the glimpse into how the cogs worked in a small town. It must be so comforting yet intrusive to have everyone you know live in the same town. All your secrets out for anyone to come and nitpick and yet that feeling of community bonding and togetherness! A boon and a curse at the same time. I actually liked the layers to the different characters. You think you knew them and they showed a totally different side of them!
The end tied up everything. The murders were solved, and Gracie got the help she needed for her kennel and she even found out that moving away from grief is liberating. I love endings which make me smile.
My Rating: 3.5/5