After enjoying the debut novel in the “Paint and Shine” series last year, I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of the second book, “Draw and Order”. The first book covered all the introductory items necessary for a new series, and I was looking forward to seeing what happened next. I was NOT disappointed by Book 2! It had all the warmth and charm of the first book, but I honestly think it was EVEN BETTER!
Main character Miranda has now established herself as a businesswoman in her new hometown, and is being taken seriously by the locals. I very much appreciated how much Miranda has grown in business acumen and confidence since the first book. It’s nice to see a legitimate growth arc in a cozy mystery, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Miranda. Her romance is moving along at a respectable cozy pace, her businesses are interesting, and her puppy is adorable. Basically, she’s the perfect cozy heroine!
The murder mystery was also handled very well. Since Miranda’s business involves taking various groups of people (often out-of-town guests) on a cultural experience, there’s always a nice influx of new characters/victims/suspects. This is a genius idea for a business for a cozy heroine, and I loved that it’s different from what I often see in this genre. The new group of guests this time around brings Miranda the discovery of a cold-case-disappearance-turned-murder and plenty of new suspects to investigate. I loved the way she methodically uses her “murder notebook” to keep track of her sleuthing; it’s very organized, and helps the reader visualize her thought process. Once everything was revealed in the end, it all made sense given what Miranda (and the reader) had learned along the way.
I also enjoyed the positive relationships Miranda has with the local sheriff, coroner, and park ranger. It’s nice to have the official folks getting along with an amateur sleuth instead of constantly resenting her involvement. Of course, the sheriff warns her to “stay out of it”, but it seems to stem more from his concern for her safety than from any real belief that she wouldn’t be helpful.
Another added bonus this time around is that Miranda’s distillery business is progressing…it won’t be long before she’s able to brew her own moonshine! I’m enjoying learning more about this topic, and really enjoy the moonshine cocktail recipes included along with the food recipes. (Of course, I grew up near Franklin County, VA, so that might be part of it.)
I also need to add that the author clearly knows her novel’s location very well on a personal level. Her love for the natural beauty of the mountains of Kentucky shines through with every scene she describes. I’m enjoying this unique cozy setting, and a lot of that is because of how authentic Ms. Hollon’s descriptions of people and places are. Kudos for some truly excellent writing and storytelling!
Five out of five slices of white cheddar!