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I received this book for free from a book tour. This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.Aloe and Goodbye by Janice Peacock
Series: Ruby Shaw Mysteries #1
Published by Vetrai Press on December 10, 2020
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Source: a book tour
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After being placed in witness protection, Ruby Shaw and her daughter move to the former ghost town of Paradise, Arizona, which is nothing like its name implies. The US marshal handling their case has this advice: Fly under the radar—but that’s difficult to do after their neighbor is murdered.
New Yorker Ruby Shaw arrives in a hillside town in Arizona with a brand-new name, a duffel bag on her shoulder, and her daughter, Allie, at her side. Before arriving, Ruby witnesses a murder that lands her in the witness protection program. That decision means she’s gone from being a successful artist to being a nobody in a postage-stamp-sized town called Paradise—a name that doesn’t fit the former ghost town. Even though their new digs are a little shabby, and there may be ghosts haunting the town, they are optimistic about their new lives, that is, until a neighbor turns up dead.
Having just arrived in town, living next door to the victim, and without an alibi, the community members are suspicious of Ruby. A local deputy befriends her, but the deputy still points to her as the culprit each time they find a new clue. If matters weren’t bad enough, Allie is having trouble fitting in at her new school, and Ruby can’t seem to hold down a job.
As they settle in, they meet the quirky inhabitants of Paradise: Bette—the chatterbox café owner, Flora—Allie’s eccentric babysitter, and Derek—who runs local history tours, which he jazzes up with ghost stories of questionable veracity.
Ruby’s life improves when she meets a handsome cook at the local café who is passionate about succulents and cacti, and may feel equally passionate about her. Even though Ruby and Allie want to stay in Paradise, a US marshal has other ideas, as he threatens to move them to a new town after Ruby gets mixed up in the murder investigation. Ruby must find the killer before she and Allie lose their new home or even worse—their lives.
Aloe and Goodbye by Janice Peacock is the first book in the new Ruby Shaw Mysteries series. This was such an exciting book! I absolutely loved the premise. From the moment I read that Ruby and her daughter were in witness protection, I wondered how in the world the author would pull off telling the story. I didn’t know if she would be able to have Ruby involved in a crime without blowing her cover.
The author did not disappoint. I loved that the story still felt light even with the gritty subject matter…after all, to be in WITSEC, usually something terrible has happened. I really, really liked Ruby and I loved the setting of Paradise, Arizona. This was easily a five-star read for me. I found myself not wanting to put the book down. The author did a nice job of pacing and letting the story unfold.
If you are looking for a unique cozy mystery, Aloe and Goodbye fits the bill. From the setting to the plot, the story felt new and fresh with all the familiar cozy elements I enjoy: small-town feel, characters you can relate to, and a mystery that kept me guessing. I cannot wait for our next visit back to this town…I have to know what happens next for Ruby, Allie, Darla, Luke, and the other quirky townsfolk of Paradise, Arizona.