Killer Nashville 2018 Silver Falchion Nominee


fox cover

A Jessica James Mystery

By Kelly Oliver

Kaos Press | $19.00
May 1, 2017

A Jessica James Mystery

Review by Sharon Marchisello

Silver-Falchion-nominated F.O.X. is the third mystery in Kelly Oliver’s series featuring cowgirl philosopher Jessica James, a Ph.D. student at Northwestern University transplanted from rural Montana to downtown Chicago. This novel deals with behind-the-scenes ethics surrounding IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) and animal research.

When the story opens, Jessica wakes up naked behind a dumpster in the dead of winter. Her last memory was the inside of the local student pub, where she was drinking with a hot young intern. The assumption was that she’d been drugged and sexually assaulted, but actually, her experience turns out to be something even more sinister.

Besides the mystery of what really happened to Jessica and dozens of other college students in the area during the same time period, there is also a murder. However, the death gets little attention and the crime is solved almost by chance, because the police initially rule it an accident.

Jessica, the protagonist, is more a victim than an amateur sleuth. Colorful, strong secondary characters—Lolita, Jack, Vanya, Sam (a.k.a. “Beagle Girl”) and even Olga to some degree—enhance the plot and their unconventional problem-solving keeps the narrative entertaining.

Besides her mystery series, Kelly Oliver has written 15 non-fiction books and over 100 articles, and her work has been translated into seven languages. She is currently a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. She lives in Nashville with her husband and fur children.

Sharon Marchisello ( is the author of Going Home, (Sunbury Press, 2014) a murder mystery inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s. She earned a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She lives in Peachtree City, GA, with her husband and cat, does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society, and writes a blog about personal finance, Countdown to Financial Fitness