“Portrait of a Dead Guy” By Larissa Reinhart

Larissa Reinhart began her writing career in second grade when she sold her first publication to her neighbor for a nickel. After moving around the Midwest, South, and Japan, she now lives in Georgia with her husband, young daughters, and Biscuit, a Cairn terrier. Although she speaks without an accent, her writing is known to have a Southern drawl. Her debut novel, Portrait of a Dead Guy, is a 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner, a 2012 The Emily finalist, and a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award finalist.

A Brief Summary:

In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge — but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.

As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Her rival wants to ruin her reputation, her ex-flame wants to rekindle the fire, and someone’s setting her up to take the fall. Mix in her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.

Our Take:

Reinhart is a truly talented author and this book was one of the best cozy mysteries we reviewed this year.

Many cozy mysteries come to our desk for review but very few have the charm, humor, and careful choice of language we saw in this book. You can consider this a “literary piece” among cozy mysteries.

From the first scene Halo, Georgia and the book’s cast of colorful characters came to life in our mind. The story, though, is beyond just humor and hunky characters; the story is rich with some great plotting, suspense, and mystery that keeps the pages turning. Swooning, or laughing. We highly recommend this book to all lovers of mystery books.

Our Rating: 4.5