Lowcountry Bonfire

by Susan M. Boyer
Henery Press, June 2017, $31.95

Set on the South Carolina island of Stella Maris, Susan M. Boyer’s Lowcountry Bonfire gets off to a hot start when Tammy Sue Lyerly sets fire to her husband’s classic 1959 Mustang convertible. Why? Because Tammy Sue discovered the wretch had been cheating on her, and Southern gals don’t put up with that. But Tammy Sue’s blazing moment of triumph is doused when the island’s volunteer firefighters discover a dead body in the trunk. Alas, the body is that of Zeke Lyerly, Tammy Sue’s cheating husband. Since the town is too small to have a full-fledged police force, the job of finding Zeke’s killer falls to husband-wife PIs Nate Andrews and Liz Talbot, the police chief’s sister. Author Boyer’s Liz Talbot mysteries (after Lowcountry Boil, Lowcountry Bordello, etc.) are a laugh riot, and at times even a little spooky, thanks to Colleen, Liz’s childhood friend. Since Colleen has been dead for 18 years, she is technically a ghost, but along the way she has learned how to “solidify” herself in order to mingle with the living, upon whom she loves to play tricks. Got a house that needs haunting? Colleen’s your gal. Got an ex-boyfriend you want to make miserable? Colleen will be happy to terrify him. One of the benefits of living in a small town is that everyone knows everyone; that’s also one of the drawbacks. When Liz begins to question suspects, she quickly realizes that Zeke’s killer might be one of her own friends, but she soldiers on. The list of suspects grows when a tall tale once told by the dead man of being a CIA spy turns out to be true. Zeke was a spy. As much fun as this ripsnorter of a mystery is—and there’s tons of fun in these giddy pages—the plot gets muddied every now and then by an overabundance of suspects. But anyone who is looking for a vacation from the grim and the grisly can’t do better than to cozy up with Liz Talbot and her ghostly sidekick Colleen.

Betty Webb
Teri Duerr
June 2017
Henery Press