Killer Nashville Book of the Day
Edisto Jinx by C. Hope Clark / Reviewed by Clay Stafford
Death comes quickly in C. Hope Clark’s latest mystery, Edisto Jinx. And again. And then again. Edisto Jinx has all the elements current mystery/thriller readers love: a smart female detective, a flawed protagonist, an intertwining and coiling series of relationships, a changing world, and a confined room (well, an island in this case).
Fortunately, the perfect South Carolina island crime spree is no match for Callie Jean Morgan. Combining modern social media and old-fashioned police work, Callie ultimately solves the crime in a delightfully twisting journey, but it takes time for her to get there.
On the heels of overcoming a personally devastating and life-changing experience, ex-Boston detective Callie finds herself in the middle of what appears to be a coincidental death, but could also be so much more. The “jinx” in the title refers to a local urban legend about mysterious deaths that have taken place within a two-week period every August for the past five years, during tourist season on Edisto Island.
Coincidence? When it happens again in the sixth year, Callie, a new resident to Edisto, thinks there might be something more sinister in play. Not only is someone trying to prevent the investigation from continuing, but it also seems that there are others who wish to profit on the supposed crime.
Callie definitely fills the bill of the flawed protagonist: everything that should serve as a foundation for a normal healthy life has been taken from her or is jeopardized in this latest adventure. Clark brilliantly places her main character in situations and roles that allow her to maximize her crime-solving abilities by being exactly at the right spot the exact moment she needs to be there.
If there is a murderer, who are the suspects? The town psychic who wants everyone to believe it is a vengeful ghost, the town real estate mogul who is hiding something, the distraught husband who is concealing more than he is saying, the town newspaper reporter creating her own stories—or one of the many tourists who come and go?
What if the killer is driving the media? And what if a town is profiting off the exposure given to them by what the killer is “reporting”? Filled with personal relationships and crimes galore, this thriller with a paranormal innuendo keeps the reader and the town hooked.
Those who haven’t read any of C. Hope Clark’s books are short-changing themselves. You can’t begin a C. Hope Clark book and then put it down. Two-time Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award nominee this year alone (for Murder on Edisto and Palmetto Poison), C. Hope Clark is a freelance writing expert, author of the Carolina Slade Mystery Series, the Edisto Island Mystery Series, and editor of FundsforWriters.com, a weekly newsletter service that reaches 40,000+ writers. You can learn more about her and her books at www.chopeclark.com.
I have to admit it took me a few pages to catch up to the references to the previous book’s backstory—even though Clark sets up the exposition well—but as I read, I started wanting to read the first book, as well. I’ve already placed an order, which should be in my mailbox in a couple of days.
This is one of the most realistic, believable amateur sleuth novels I’ve ever read (although Callie, while not a cop at the story’s opening, is no amateur). It brings new meaning—and verisimilitude—to the fanciful idea of amateur detectives knowing and finding out more than the police. I love how Clark paints a true picture of how this debacle would play out in real life.
Themes of sensationalism and media-generated misconceptions create an instantly brilliant conflict-of-interest situation, as Clark directly links news coverage of crime to the economic benefits notoriety and exposure offer the town’s economy. Her innovative plotting, real-life situations, and authentic characters make this novel stand out.
Clay Stafford is an author / filmmaker (www.ClayStafford.com), founder of Killer Nashville (www.KillerNashville.com) and publisher of Killer Nashville Magazine (www.KillerNashvilleMagazine.com). In addition to selling over 1.5 million copies of his own books, Stafford’s latest projects are the documentary “One of the Miracles” (www.OneOfTheMiracles.com) and writing the music CD “XO” with Kathryn Dance / Lincoln Rhymes author Jeffery Deaver (www.JefferDeaverXOMusic.com). He is currently writing a film script based on Peter Straub’s “Pork Pie Hat” for American Blackguard Entertainment (www.AmericanBlackguard.com) and is editor and contributor to the new anthology of bestselling mystery and thriller authors, Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded.
(If you have a book you would like featured, send an ARC for consideration. The Killer Nashville Book of the Day Reviews are coordinated by Clay Stafford with the assistance of Emily Eytchison and credited guest reviewers. For more writer resources, visit us at www.KillerNashville.com and www.KillerNashvilleMagazine.com)
And be sure to check out our new book, Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded, an anthology of original short stories by New York Times bestselling authors and newbies alike.
“Murder, mayhem, and mystery! Every story in KILLER NASHVILLE: COLD-BLOODED is filled with suspense, sizzle and startling twists. I loved it!” – Lisa Jackson, New York Times Best-Selling author
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