Publisher: Horatio Press (2016)
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In this enticing second installment of D. J. Adamson’s Lillian Dove Mystery series, big city problems wind up in a small town in the Midwest threatening not only the safety and integrity of the community, but bringing imminent danger to the life of one woman who is just trying to move beyond her rocky past and navigate toward a more positive future.

Trying to get your life back on track may be a little tricky when you’re a recovering alcoholic five years sober, and you’ve just inherited a house and the local AAA Discount Liquor Store. Here in Frytown, Iowa, Lillian Dove is clearly aware that “life has its ironies,” but she’s determined to make the best of recent circumstances. With her cat Bacardi, she’s been residing at her mother Dahlia’s condo in Lake’s Edge Senior Residential Complex, while the feisty woman is in a nearby convalescent home hell-bent on getting out.

Lillian’s also been involved with the local Frytown Police Chief, a man she felt offered love and security, though unfortunately he also happens to be married. While sobriety and the unexpected new business acquisition have boosted her spirits, Lillian is haunted by the suicide of her best friend Cressie, a former addict who forced Lillian to face her own issues.

Suddenly, Cressie’s onetime ne’er do well boyfriend is threatening to blackmail Lillian, claiming to have video proof that she was responsible for Cressie’s death. Lillian knows his demands are bogus, but when his dead body is discovered at the condo, she’s determined to uncover the truth and clear her own name.

Within this well-crafted storyline, the murder investigation is linked to a border-crossing drug operation that stems from a multi-million-dollar Chicago firm, and a CEO involved in illegal money laundering. As Federal Agents and the local Police Department unite to catch the criminals, Lillian finds herself in harm’s way when she’s unwittingly dragged into the high-risk probe. From murder and a suspicious flash drive to vandalism, kidnapping, and surprise revelations, Lillian embarks on a winding, roller-coaster ride.

For those unfamiliar with Adamson’s evolving mystery series, a passing mention of Lillian’s having been a prior witness to an arson case that resulted in near dire consequences for both Lillian and her mother, helps bring readers up to speed and also confirms Lillian’s seemingly magnetic draw to trouble.

While chapter/segment titles indicate this story plays out over a short span of a few days, Adamson broadens the platform with a full range of characters and action. From the local mayor being accused of bigamy and a dispatch operator who equates to “Town Gossipedia”, to the ghost of Lillian’s benefactor assuring her that “everything will be fine” and the pirate-costumed nurse just trying to keep the ornery senior patients in line, all add engaging humor and lightness to the narrative in contrast with the greater tension and drama.

Like all good mysteries, Adamson creates a tale riddled with questions. Intertwined with bantering dialogue and heated conversations, Lillian’s self-imposed ponderings about recent events help draw us into the heart and mind of the central character. As a soul-searching individual coming to grips with the past, Lillian’s dream states offer a glimpse of her lost childhood and her fractured life. Adamson clearly has an eye for detail. Whether exposed in the sharp visuals of a crime scene, or revealed in the aromatic constants of a nursing home environment perfumed by the fragrance of “urine, unwashed bodies, and the Wednesday night meatloaf special,” the writing paints a colorful, and vivid picture.

Through the character of Lillian Dove, readers are introduced to a flawed, but tenacious female heroine who is genuinely likable. Suppose is a mystery filled with small-town heart, yet big city edge, unexpected excitement, and a touch of humor. Together they prove a smart, and winning combination.

Suppose won First Place in the  2017 CIBA M&M Awards!