Bones to Pick: Linda Lovely
Tammy the pot-bellied pig is quite inquisitive and maybe just a bit hungry. She decides to explore Eva Hooker’s farm doing some excavating in place of an archeologist. She uncovers the skull of someone thought to be deceased or missing many years ago but never found. Brie Hooker is at the scene of this discovery along with her Aunt Eva who owns the property where this skull was found. But, what grabs the reader from the start is when the identity of the person whose skull was buried there and later the rest of the remains uncovered will start a chain of events that will bring down the wrath of an entire town a the family of the deceased. You see it was her late ex-husband Jed Watson who it belongs to and his family is out to take her down along with the Sheriff who just happens to be one of his kin. Brie is very attached to her aunt and decides to come and live with her taking care of her finances and anything related to her will since Lilly her sister’s accident and death. Having to live on a goat farm and tending to the goats is not her idea of fun but she agrees much to her parent’s chagrin. Brie is a great chef who only cooks vegan and never touches meat and believe or not cheese, which is one of the main staples that Aunt Eva sells on her goat farm. When the town learns that the skull belongs to Jed her missing husband the local sheriff jumps on the case and had decided she is his number one suspect. Brie and her mother Iris who is a well known attorney in this town has taken the it upon herself to deal with the court, the sheriff while Brie creates her own brand of unorthodox investigating. Eli Watson is drunk and dangerous and threatens Eva putting the family on the alert that he will do anything to take her down. Brie finds herself at the mercy of one of the family members when she pretends to be someone else and enters Hands On the nail salon belonging to Nancy Hooker, Eli’s wife. The scene is one right out of a Lucy and Ethel comedy where all things go wrong and when Nancy finds out whom she really is and from that point on things go haywire. But, when the police come to question her about her whereabouts for the afternoon she now becomes suspect number one in you won’t believe it Nancy’s murder. Someone thinks she poisoned her with something related to the farm but her father soon dispels that theory but the fun is just beginning. The fun part is that Brie is not allowed to use colorful language and due to her ability to create vegan dishes her way of expressing herself is to use come culinary expletives. Utterly Kidding Dairy makes goat cheese and is sold by mail order or to people in town. Everyone is there to hear the last will and testimony of her aunt Lilly when the remains are found. But, what would a good story be without two males rivaling for Brie’s attention. Andy the hot vet and Paint the hot moonshine bar owner who seems at first to be the winner but you never know.
Brie forges ahead by going with her aunt to have her signature on all of her accounts and receives more than just the cold shoulder from the bank president. Two folders one her aunts and another belonging to another company are on his desk. By the end of the short meeting her aunt requires all of the documents needed to transfer her accounts to another bank and the ones needed for Brie to be placed on the account at least for now. Curses using expletives composed of cheese and meet and a sheriff who comes into her home and takes things that go beyond the warrant or the law. With Iris Hooker on the case and Brie’s own brand of investigation she might skate free but who knows. First, how did the bones get there and who killed Nancy and why? Death threats to her, her aunt and her family, bar fights and hopefully Brie and the rest of this zany cast will come out alive. Meet her friend Mollye who has a stake in all this and thinks she might get some information from the deputy sheriff.
Brie and Mollye have their own unique brand of investigating and while up to their eyeballs in danger and antics you being to wonder if they will come out alive or be the next bones buried at Utterly Kidding Dairy. In between Brie manages to date both Paint and Andy and gets into hot water with her mother when she visits Paints bar that produces any kind of Moonshine. Eva was arrested and has to wear an ankle bracelet so that the court and the Sheriff can track her movements. Dealing with the Sheriff you begin to wonder whose side he’s on that of the law of something else.
The main theme falls on Eli, Nancy, the bank president and a man named Kaiser who invested in Sunrise Ridge a gated community that Paint managed to get Brie to see first hand. But, the Watsons were not the only family after the Hookers the Nelsons had no love for them either. But, when Eli’s body is found hanged and several others are victims of this killer who is behind all of this and why doesn’t Sheriff Jones look in a different direction. Pointing his finger at Brie for one death and Eva for another someone has this all planned out but will it ever stop? After taking a tour of Sunrise Ridge you might wonder how people manage the dangerous terrain when driving but if you’re rich the matter is solved.
While Paint, Andy and Brie’s father are all staying with Eva someone decided to burn down the animals and the barn but will they be able to put it out in time?
An ending right out of Bonnie and Clyde or even Abbot and Costello as Brie and Mollye decide to take matters into their own hands but are stopped by some dangerous killers but will they be saved or will this be the end of the bumpy road? With her mother looking into it more carefully and Brie and Mollye being held prisoner by the killers will her text messages reach anyone before her fate and Mollye’s is sealed.
An ending that is hysterical and the final revelation might need some reinforcements to take down the killers. Greed, power, money laundering, revenge, hate, fear, spousal abuse, deceit and lies are just some of what author Linda Lovely brings out in this Brie Hooker novel. Who solves the case? Will Eva be exonerated? The ending will bring some surprises and hopefully the author intends to bring this cast of wild and zany characters back again as Brie is now committed to living on her aunt’s farm, indulging herself with two hot hunks and learning the art of what solving cases when Tammy the pig and the guard dogs teach a dangerous killer that it is not wise to bury bones on this farm because you never know when these animals will find THE BONES TO PICK! Not only are the bones buried but there are many people within this story that have conflicts with others and that is also when they have BONES TO PICK!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine