Fiction, Mystery

Shady Hollow by Juneau Black

Shady Hollow #1

When reviewing titles for the spring, one of our reps handed me an advance copy of Shady Hollow shortly before I left for a beach vacation in October. Deciding it might be what I would be in the mood more, and being short enough to be read in a day, I excitedly threw it in my bag.

Synopsis

From the publisher marketing:
The first book in the Shady Hollow series, in which we are introduced to the village of Shady Hollow, a place where woodland creatures live together in harmony–until a curmudgeonly toad turns up dead and the local reporter has to solve the case.

Reporter Vera Vixen is a relative newcomer to Shady Hollow. The fox has a nose for news, so when she catches wind that the death might be a murder, she resolves to get to the bottom of the case, no matter where it leads. As she stirs up still waters, the fox exposes more than one mystery, and discovers that additional lives are in jeopardy.

Vera finds more to this town than she ever suspected. It seems someone in the Hollow will do anything to keep her from solving the murder, and soon it will take all of Vera’s cunning and quickness to crack the case.

Review

After the disappointment of The Love Hypothesis in October on the beach, I decided to completely switch gears and read a short (just over 200 pages) mystery about an cadre of animals in a Shady Hollow and it was exactly what I needed to escape the real world for an afternoon.

Our heroine, a delightful investigative reporter fox, Vera, and her best friend, Lenore, a whip smart raven who owns a bookstore, are probably two of my new all time favorite characters. While Vera investigates the death of the cranky toad, the police chief is nowhere to be found, his deputy Orville begrudgingly permits Vera’s independent inquires and investigation. When another town resident turns up dead, the plot certainly thickens! Equal parts cozy mystery and Zootopia, I didn’t want to leave the residents of Shady Hollow.

The mystery side of the plot is believable and accessible while not being overly formulaic. It’s the wonderful host of additional characters and promises of their greater roles in subsequent books, that really have me looking forward to the rest of the books. The second book, Cold Clay, is out in March and the third, Mirror Lake, in April!

Rating: 8 out of 10

Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.

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