A Tori Winters Mystery
Mystery / Women Sleuths
Publisher: Mystic Circle Books
Pages: 360 pages
Publication Date: July 1, 2022
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When Tori Winters becomes the star witness in a murder trial, someone tries to kill her. Terrified, she’s not giving the killer a second chance. With all her worldly possessions packed in her car, Tori is on the run. A mysterious phone call about an inheritance leads her to Granbury. After all, who would look for her in a small, quaint Texas town?
Instead, Tori’s life is about to spin into an existence where nothing is as it seems. The historic house she inherits is steeped in secrets from the past. Secrets that may prove deadly. A stranger in a strange town, who can she trust? There is the disinherited step-grandson and the lawyer and his son. What are they hiding?
Tori’s inheritance may not be a blessing when a killer strikes again. It could be her death warrant.
Deadly Keepsakes is a modern recreation of the Gothic romantic suspense novel in the vein of such great authors as Phyllis A. Whitney or Daphne du Maurier. Rather than the setting of the big house on the dark, remote, craggy-cliffed island, author Anita Dickason has reimagined the genre by placing the story smack in the middle of hot and sunny, small-town Texas.
Dickason amps up the suspense from the very start with Tori fleeing her home in Springfield, only months after her mother’s death, to escape the intimidation and revenge of the Russell family. But thankfully, Tori is a bright, capable, and determined heroine (unlike some of the fragile, helpless females of old), and she takes matters into her own hands to keep herself safe.
When she reaches her new town in Texas, she is immediately surrounded by the influential, successful people at the core of Granbury society: men who seem to feel they know more about what’s in her best interests than she does. I was so glad to see her set them straight quick, fast, and in a hurry. Two handsome men are also personally interested in the new heiress, and both are deliciously suspicious. But our girl keeps a wary eye on them both, though. Even as she feels attracted to one, she doesn’t let this blind her to his possible participation in the strange goings on. She keeps them both at arm’s length as she figures things out.
Deviating from the Gothic romantic suspense formula, though, is the presence of Mia O’Brien and her posse of friends/employees. I enjoyed this group of young women so much with their camaraderie, witty banter, and we-got-your-back attitude. I loved how Mia knew everyone in town and all their business and background. She always “knew a guy” who could do whatever needed doing. She and the other women were a fun and entertaining support network and just what Tori needed.
I especially enjoyed the secrets the house held and Grandmother Elly’s backstory with her family history of gambling, gunrunning, and liquor. Readers should be sure to read the author’s notes at the end of the book giving the story behind the fiction and its roots in the life and times of a real, local gangster from the area. I also felt the sadness of the tragic reasons Tori and her grandmother never met. In the end, Elly had everything but what she wanted most: her family.
With its fresh setting, strong heroine, excellent support characters, and solid, relentlessly evolving mystery, I recommend DEADLY KEEPSAKES to mystery readers, especially those who enjoy their stories with a lot of suspense and a touch of romantic suspense as well.
Award-winning author Anita Dickason is a twenty-two-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department. She served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics detective, advanced accident investigator, SWAT tactical officer, and the team’s first female sniper.
Anita’s extensive law enforcement experience and knowledge provide the inspiration for her plots, and characters. She writes about what she knows, cops and crime.
Her works have received multiple awards from Book Viral Millennium Book Awards, Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, Literary Titan Book Awards, Independent Author Network Book Awards, and Speak Up Talk Radio Firebird Award.
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