Author: Kristen McKendry
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published Date: August 2011
Softcover; 222 pages
Reviewed by: Shanda
FTC FYI: free review copy in exchange for an honest review
It couldn’t be good for business to have a guest drop dead in the vegetable garden.
With a first line like that, I knew I was in for an entertaining read with Garden Plot.
Erin, the owner and director of a halfway house for recovering addicts as well as mother to a 13 year-old daughter, is our narrator in this story told in first person. The book begins with Erin finding a body of a guest/patient in her garden that has unfortunately been shot in the head. As she tries to deal with notifying the authorities and keeping other guests/patients from coming upon the gruesome scene, we are introduced to several colorful characters.
The author did a great job writing these numerous secondary characters, especially considering we only get to know them through Erin’s eyes. Of course, as director of the home, she knows more about them than anyone in the house. She doesn’t know them well enough, however, to know who might have committed murder.
Running the Whole-Life Wellness Center in Mississagua, ON, Canada, is more than a full-time job for Erin. It’s how she is healing from the sudden death of her husband three years earlier. She feels an obligation toward the guest who lost his life at her center and she doesn’t feel like she can rest until she understands how and why he was killed and placed in her garden.
After visiting the deceased’s wife, Erin learns that the guest who checked into her center may not be the person everyone thought he was. After information from another guest connects some dots, Erin decides to do a little more investigating on her own much to the frustration of Detective Liam Harris, who ultimately concedes that she has a way of getting information from people but doesn’t want her putting herself in danger for reasons that are personal as much as professional.
I laughed out at least a dozen times throughout the book, especially in the last few chapters. There were a few places that I felt that Erin and Detective Harris’ questioning-motive sessions went in circles a little much, but it didn’t change how I felt about the book. I enjoyed the author’s voice in the book — it was a bit different than other mysteries I’ve read.
I give Garden Plot 4 stars out of 5 because it was an entertaining read that kept me turning pages (I couldn’t put it down) and it made me laugh out loud. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery with LDS characters (references to the religion but not preachy at all).