A Texas police officer solves a crime with help from her sisters, living and departed, in this entertaining cozy.
Madelyn Castillo, a widowed single parent and rookie cop, is babysitting Gino Bernardi and Alan Foxworthy, who are in lockup after a fight over a woman in a bar. Then Maddy’s dead sister, Tessa, appears to warn her that trouble is coming. Right on cue, Maddy gets a threatening call on her cellphone and instructions to put her gun on the desk and lock herself in the ladies’ room, or her mother and daughter will die. While she’s obediently hiding, Bernardi is shot dead, and Foxworthy is wounded with her abandoned Glock. Colton Winslow, sheriff of Vineyard County, doesn’t want to hold Maddy for murder; he was once Tessa’s husband and is now married to one of Maddy’s three surviving sisters. But when Foxworthy IDs Maddy as the perp and a video shows a woman who looks like her shooting both Foxworthy and Bernardi, Colt has to arrest Maddy and tell her sisters to stay off the case—which, of course, they don’t. Maddy’s fortunes go downhill from there. Foxworthy is murdered before Tony Pirelli, the high-rolling Dallas lawyer who’s taken Maddy’s case, can question him. At least Maddy gets occasional pointers from Tessa and protection from a handsome insurance investigator searching for a missing necklace. But even with a ghostly adviser and the help of her other sisters, Tessa is unprepared—perhaps more than the reader—to find out that the mystery is not confined to Vineyard County and that not all the newcomers in her life are what they seem. Readers who can accept Tessa’s ghost will appreciate the novel dimension her insights and cheeky commentary add to Lipperman’s second Dead Sister Talking mystery (Heard It Through the Grapevine, 2013).
Even those who find Tessa an annoying gimmick can still enjoy the closeness of the sisters and the suspense of the case.