Fiction, Mystery

Cold Clay by Juneau Black

Shady Hollow #2

Every year, when on a relaxing vacation, I set myself the task of reading a book a day. In order to accomplish this, I tend to keep the books to 250 pages or less. I’d been meaning to finish the Shady Hollow series for awhile and now I had the perfect opportunity!

Synopsis

From the publisher marketing:
The second book in the Shady Hollow series, in which some long-buried secrets come to light, throwing suspicion on a beloved local denizen.

It’s autumn in Shady Hollow, and residents are looking forward to harvest feasts. But then a rabbit discovers a grisly crop: the bones of a moose.

Soon, the owner of Joe’s Mug is dragged out of the coffeeshop and questioned by the police about the night his wife walked out of his life–and Shady Hollow–forever. It seems like an open-and-shut case, but dogged reporter Vera Vixen doesn’t believe gentle Joe is a killer. She’ll do anything to prove his innocence… even if it means digging into secrets her neighbors would rather leave buried.

If she learned only one thing as a cub reporter, it was this: never cross a librarian. You might never come out of the stacks again.

Review

It was such a delight to come back to the world of Shady Hollow in Cold Clay. Vera is one of my favorite characters and seeing her back in action solving a cold case with her trusted companions, raven and bookstore owner, Lenore Lee, and her beau, Deputy Braun, a bear, was an absolute treat. We also get to revisit some characters from the first series, including a young beaver heiress, Esme, who is now a waitress at the beloved local diner, Joe’s Mug.

But it is Joe who is front and center of Cold Clay as his missing wife’s body has turned up eleven years after she disappeared. Joe is, unsurprisingly, first suspected, but Vera knows that her moose friend wouldn’t hurt a fly and is determined to find the real culprit. While trying to solve the mystery, her boss at the paper, skunk BW Stone, insists that she spend some time at the new etiquette school and write articles about the experience as the proprietor, a shiny new mink in town, Octavia, is taking out a lot of ad space in said paper.

As the story unfolds, it’s pretty easy to surmise what happened to Julia and just who is responsible. I’ll hold off on any spoilers, but despite its predictability, I’m always up for a return visit to Shady Hollow and I dove right into the third in the series, Mirror Lake (review tomorrow!) when I finished Cold Clay!

Rating: 7 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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