A ROMANTIC WAY TO DIE by Bill Crider (see his website)
A SHERIFF DAN RHODES MYSTERY
Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Minotaur, November 2001
Sheriff Dan Rhodes finds a traffic jam at the Clearview Texas Wallmart--all caused by a romance book signing, attended by hunk cover model Terry Don Coslin. Coslin is also the star of a writers' retreat in Clearview, an event attended by both local author wanna-be's, and well know authors from around the U.S. When one of the authors ends up dead, and the draft of her novel accuses most of the other writers of theft, cheating, and sleeping their way to the top of the publishing industry, Rhodes realizes that writers can be deadly. The only problem is, with a book like that, the list of people who might want Henrietta dead is a long one--but everyone seems to have an alibi.
Rhodes' investigation into the murder is hampered by the character-filled natives of Clearview Texas, one of whom claims that Terry Don Coslin is a peeping tom while others see ghosts at the local funeral home. Still, Rhodes keeps working away at the crimes, trying to unravel the lies told by authors--generally recognized as the one group who tells lies for money.
Author Bill Crider (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Crider) does a fine job characterizing a good-ole-boy Texas Sheriff who is plenty smart while still being a man of the people. Crider's Sheriff Rhodes approaches life with an attitude that can't help bring a smile to the reader's face. Anyone connected to the publishing industry will also enjoy the characterization of the writers' retreat, and the perpetual love-hate relationship between published and unpublished (a.k.a. prepublished) members of the writing community.
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