While Susan M. Boyer has been writing her whole life, “Lowcountry Boil” is her first full-length mystery novel. It is a 2012 Golden Heart Finalist and was nominated for a Daphne du Maurier Award. (After I published this review the first time, it went on to win the prestigious Agatha Award for Best First Novel.)
This is the third book published by Henery Press and so far all three books have been terrific.
As the story opens, Liz Talbot’s grandmother is murdered and Liz, who runs a private investigation business, returns to her South Carolina island home of Stella Maris to help investigate. Stella Maris is a small town and a few families, including Liz’, control much of the island. Her brother is the local police chief. Her grandmother was on the city council and her father still is.
There are a variety of elements that draw me to a book. The first are the characters. I loved that she put a chart in the book to assist in keeping track of the families in the town. Liz Talbot is a strong southern woman who is smart and resourceful. She has a family full of intriguing characters. Her childhood friend who died when she was young comes back to assist her, adding a paranormal twist to the story. I’m not normally big on paranormal stories, but this one is done so well, that it seemed almost natural.
The second important element to me is setting. This is a town I wanted to visit, that intrigued me. I loved reading about her grandmother’s house and the various diners and locations on the island.
The third element is the plot. “Lowcountry Boil” offered an intriguing mystery and an unresolved romance which should keep enthusiasts of both genres happy and eager to read the next book in the series.
The last major element is voice. The book was a page turner full of southern charm. I gobbled it up quickly and I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Five stars out of five.
In accordance with FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the publisher free of charge. I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review. All they expect is an honest review of the work.