But no, wait a minute . . . Splat!
Not when the beverage is thrown at your boss Margaret DuBose, State Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just as she takes the podium during a goodwill mission to inaugurate the town’s new firehouse.
Quick thinking is called for. Action. Carolina Slade dives in front of DuBose, Slade’s lovely J.C. Penney loafers and khaki slacks catching the brunt of the sticky liquid — and thus begins PALMETTO POISON, the third installment of C. Hope Clark’s rousing and clever Carolina Slade Mysteries (ASIN: B00IE68F54, ISBN13: 978-1611944051, Bell Bridge Books, February 2014, 280 pp).
The cup-wielder turns out to be young C.J. Wheeler, teenage nephew of Governor Dick Wheeler. His father has been arrested and charged with dealing in illegal prescriptions from the VA, and the kid’s looking for someone to blame. Of course, he spews his anger, frustration and fear at the nearest government representatives: namely Margaret DuBose and her USDA entourage, Slade and Monroe Prevatte.
What boy wouldn’t?
Unfortunately, having recently solved a crime involving tomato farmers, Slade’s investigative proficiency precedes her. The kid’s not interested in being placated by a government agent imported from the Lowcountry for the purpose of arresting hard-working farmers on trumped up charges. With a squeal of his pickup’s tires, C.J. speeds out of the parking lot. The last time anyone will see him alive.
Single mother of two with a new house and a new job, constantly balancing work and her relationship with Special Agent Wayne Largo, Slade doesn’t need additional complications in her life. Coasting a while would be nice.
Yeah, right. When pigs take voice lessons and sing at the Met.
Slade is practically mowed down in the parking lot by her beau’s gun-toting, DEA agent ex. Her wayward, in the middle-of-a-divorce younger sister Ally arrives on her doorstep.
On top of all that, Dubose has arranged for Slade to meet privately with the governor — and the meeting doesn’t go well. Dick Wheeler requests her to monitor his brother’s case, to find out what evidence the DEA has on him. To keep him informed.
Not exactly Slade’s job. But plenty of fuel to keep fans turning the pages of Clark’s well-crafted PALMETTO POISON. This talented author invites readers to join her gutsy protagonist as she endures more irate family members of the accused farmer, being followed by a mysterious black SUV, her beau’s elusive sister (on the run from his DEA agent ex), accidents, a nudist resort, kidnapping and an investigation that turns deadly.
Clark once again delivers action, grit, tenderness and humor aplenty. If you haven’t read a Carolina Slade Mystery, I urge you to cut a fast-track to your favorite bookseller. If you have read the first two installments of this contemporary and unique series, LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE and TIDEWATER MURDER, then you’re in for yet another treat. PALMETTO POISON does not disappoint. I personally hope C. Hope Clark has a few more of these page-turners in the works.
C. Hope Clark holds a B.S. in Agriculture from Clemson University and has 25 years experience with the US Department of Agriculture. She also manages FundsforWriters.com, a weekly newsletter service she founded that reaches approximately 50,000 writers from professors and journalists to published mystery authors. To learn more about this author and her other works visit her website at http://chopeclark.com/