A snake-handling preacher is found dead in a car full of slithery serpents.
After Tony Abernathy was shot on the job in Chicago, he and his wife Theo retreated to the quiet Tennessee town where Theo’s family were early settlers. Now Theo runs a quilt shop and Tony leads a pretty dull life as sheriff until he and his deputy have to remove preacher John Mize’s body, handcuffed to the steering wheel, from a car full of unhappy snakes. The dead man turns out to be a nasty ex-con cousin to Quentin Mize, a local addict who usually keeps a low profile. As Tony investigates, more unpleasant facts emerge. Ruby Brown, who owns the café in whose parking lot the body was found, was once married against her will to the snake-handler, who repeatedly beat her and took off with their daughter. Quentin is living with a sluttish girlfriend whom Tony suspects of running a meth lab. And rumor has it that the scattered body parts found near town belong to the missing husband of Theo’s best friend. Tony manages to patch all the pieces of the crazy quilt together, although it nearly costs him his life.
A soothing cozy debut that includes a pattern for a mystery quilt.