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Tea and Cookies and...Harmon Creek


Thomas Fenske, Wings ePress, Inc. 2022, 15.99, PDF, 325 pages, ISBN: 978-1-61309-495-2

Reviewer: Angela Moody

Alvin McIntyre is the dirty District Attorney and Earl Swanger is running to defeat him. Two weeks before the primary, Earl is killed while stumping for the election. A simple car accident, right? It turns out nothing is simple, and the ensuing investigation calls many things into question.

The accident is no accident. McIntyre has commissioned Betty Johnston and her friend, Freddy Darby to create an incident to besmirch Swanger’s reputation, but they go too far.

They, Sheriff Steele, and Alvin McIntyre are tropes. But so is Texas Ranger Tim Givens assigned to investigate. There isn’t a crime Givens can’t solve by talking to himself and looking around at the “evidence.”

The book could have been a thrilling read except the author gave us the crime in the first chapter and then backtracked, feeding his readers details about how the crime occurred. The author could have opened the story with the discovery of Earl’s body and then given the details of how the crime was committed as the story progressed, but chose not to, leaving a disappointing read.

The characters are one-dimensional, and all talk to themselves to impart the information the author wanted his readers to have. Having said that, the characters, Claude, Evie, and Miss Lilly Mae were the most well-developed in the story.

The most realistic element was the racial climate in 1930s Texas, but the author could have done better world-building. Instead of posting each incident's date, time, and the location at the head of each section, he could have crafted a story that wove those details in and given a more riveting read. I have never been to Texas and would have liked to have “seen” the surrounding countryside through the author’s eyes.

Based on a true crime incident involving an ancestor of the author’s wife.

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