Death's Half Acre
Grand Central Publishing, Aug 2008, $24.99
In North Carolina, rural Colleton County commissioner Candace “don’t call me Candy” Bradshaw commits suicide stunning everyone. Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant investigates to insure that Candace did kill herself even with the note she left behind claiming bad deeds, the woman seemed to have everything going. He soon begins to uncover why as greed, official corruption, and homicide seem to have tentacles throughout the county; kickbacks to award construction of housing and malls is prevalent.
Bryant’s wife Judge Deborah Knott is working mostly on small-claims suits that include many small farmers being squeezed off the land in a big government eminent domain grab. She worries these cases are going to cost her future in local politics even more than her reprobate father Kezzie, a infamous bootlegging con man who swears he is retired, but she assumes he is cooling his heels setting up his next sting.
The key to this cozy and the entire Knott series is how realistic the Carolina blue cast feels. Readers will enjoy this fine entry as Dwight struggles with a case that looks like suicide yet has some doubts while his wife worries about the impact of whatever her father’s next travesty will be while also getting involved in the Bradshaw death. Readers will enjoy the deep look at development on the rural locals of Colleton County as fraud and bribery are the American way.