The first installment for a new cozy-mystery series set in northern Louisiana.
Freddreese “Freddy” Campton, with the help of her best friend, and real estate agent, Leslie Donner, finally owns her Shreveport, Louisiana, dream home. With focused determination and a little elbow grease, the ladies get to work on whipping the house into shape. After scrubbing their way to the attic—a space the previous owners used as an office—Leslie spots something out of the corner of her eye that quickly disappears behind a bookcase. After prying the bookcase from the wall, the two not only find an unwelcome guest (a bat), but also a hidden, locked door. Once opened, it reveals a mysterious, secret room full of valuable items linked to a deep, dark, 80-year-old secret. When Freddreese investigates the house’s history in an effort to solve the mystery, she learns that sometimes things aren’t always as they appear—and that the answers she’s looking for may lie closer to home than she could ever imagine. Millikin crafts her debut with an easygoing hand and an upbeat voice, successfully capturing the strong, intimate bond between childhood friends and keeping things light and playful. Freddreese and Leslie, in particular, are perfect conversational partners. Freddreese’s amateur sleuthing skills may be elementary, but they’re plausibly successful in uncovering clues, which lead her ever-closer to the truth. At times, however, the dialogue is a bit too on-the-nose, with characters addressing each other by name a little too often to be realistic. It all leads to a convenient, if anticlimactic, conclusion, but along the way, there are a few slight twists, as well as a potential new love interest for Freddreese.
A quick, lightweight mystery that’s sure to entertain genre fans.