Tag Archives: Susan M. Boyer

A day in the life of Liz Talbot by Susan M. Boyer

ONE

The dead are not much given to hysteria. The morning Tammy Sue Lyerly piled her husband’s clothes into his Raven Black 1969 Mustang convertible and lit a match, my friend Colleen stayed oddly nonchalant. She’d been dead eighteen years and had seen a thing or two.

For her part, Tammy Sue was pitching an F5 hissy fit. She dug all ten fingers into her 1980s pile of long red hair, clutched her head, and bellowed, “Let it burn.”

Four Stella Maris volunteer firemen cast her worried looks but went about the business of hooking up the hose to the fire hydrant. We stood in a loose huddle a safe distance from the burning car in the Lyerly driveway.

“I asked you what you were doing here,” said Blake. My brother, Blake, was the Stella Maris Police Chief. My husband, Nate, and I were private investigators, and Blake purely hated it when we meddled in his business.

“I called her,” said Daddy. “I overheard at the flea market that your sister’d done some work for Tammy Sue recently. Thought maybe she’d want to know.” Daddy shrugged, looked innocent. Mamma and Daddy lived across the street from the Lyerlys, so naturally Daddy was first on the scene. Mamma had come with him. She raised an eyebrow to let him know she had his number. It wasn’t yet eight o’clock. Daddy sipped coffee from a large insulated stainless steel travel mug, all nonchalant like.

“For cryin’ out loud, Dad. We don’t need the whole town out here this morning.” Blake gave his head a shake. He scanned the neighborhood we’d grown up in. Folks gathered in clumps under the shade of massive live oaks in bordering yards. They’d all come out to see the show. The audience was growing fast. It was early on a Tuesday in the middle of June. Some of those folks were missing work. Blake lifted his Red Sox cap, ran a hand through his hair, and resettled the cap.

Tammy Sue grabbed my arm with one hand and clutched her chest dramatically with the other. “Well, I want her here, and you don’t have a single thing to say about it. This is my property.” “Yours and Zeke’s.” Blake kept his tone easy, casual. “Where did you say Zeke was again?”

“He’s with that cheap hussy, Crystal Chapman.” Tammy’s eyes glowed with crazy. She leaned forward and hurled the words at Blake. “And he’d better by God not come home unless he wants me to light his ass on fire too.”

A particularly flammable piece of clothing caught fire in a whoosh. The flames climbed, crackled, and popped. Blake closed his eyes.

“I just don’t see Zeke Lyerly being worth all this fuss, do you?” Colleen’s expression telegraphed her boredom. It was a slow morning otherwise on the island. Colleen was our guardian spirit. If she’d had anything better to do, she would’ve been elsewhere—she wanted that on the record.

I raised my brows and blew out a breath. Nate and I had worked a great many domestic cases. One thing I knew for sure: When love soured, it could turn sane people into raving lunatics. Colleen said, “Everyone thinks he’s so good looking. I don’t see it.”

“Seriously?” I squinched my face. Zeke was a fine example of the Southern male. I’d give him that much, and I was happily married and didn’t generally notice such things. Tall and lanky, with sun-kissed brown hair cut close to keep it from curling, mischievous blue eyes, an easy, movie-star smile, and a down-home drawl, Zeke was prone to flirt. He was a charmer. Nate quirked an eyebrow. A grin teased the corners of his mouth.

Damnation. I’d responded to Colleen out loud. No one but Nate and me could see or hear Colleen. I used to be her only human point of contact. But as soon as Nate and I were married in December, he was added to the family plan.

A wayward lock of dark blond hair brushed his forehead. His eyes were shockingly blue against his tanned, sculpted face. He kept his honeyed drawl low, where only I could hear. “We should never’ve given Tammy Sue those pictures.”

I cast him a look that said, Give me a break. We’d had no choice in the matter. Tammy Sue hired us to find out if Zeke was cheating. In my heart I just knew we’d find some crazy Zeke thing— he was a certifiable character, no doubt. But I would’ve bet he was true to Tammy Sue and our investigation would prove that, just like the last time she’d hired us. Unfortunately, I would’ve lost that bet.


You can read more about Liz in Lowcountry Bonfire, the sixth book in the “Liz Talbot” mystery series.

Private Investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews have worked their share of domestic cases. So when Tammy Sue Lyerly hires them to find out what her husband is hiding, they expect to find something looney but harmless. After all, this is the guy who claims to have been a DEA agent, a champion bull rider, and a NASCAR driver. But when he turns up dead the morning after Liz and Nate deliver the incriminating photos, Tammy is the prime suspect.

Questioning the truth of Zeke Lyerly’s tall-tales, Liz and Nate race to uncover small town scandals, long buried secrets, and the victim’s tumultuous past to keep Tammy Sue out of jail and the case from going up in flames.

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About the author
Susan M. Boyer writes the USA TODAY Bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and garnered several other awards and nominations. Lowcountry Bonfire, the sixth Liz Talbot mystery, will be out June 27. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone and everyone has crazy relatives. You’ll find all of the above in her novels. Reach out to Susan at susanmboyer.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Buy Link

My Musing ~ Lowcountry Bonfire by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry Bonfire by Susan M. Boyer is the sixth book in the “Liz Talbot” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, coming June 27, 2017

Private Investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews have worked their share of domestic cases. So when Tammy Sue Lyerly hires them to find out what her husband is hiding, they expect to find something looney but harmless. After all, this is the guy who claims to have been a DEA agent, a champion bull rider, and a NASCAR driver. But when he turns up dead the morning after Liz and Nate deliver the incriminating photos, Tammy is the prime suspect.

Questioning the truth of Zeke Lyerly’s tall-tales, Liz and Nate race to uncover small town scandals, long buried secrets, and the victim’s tumultuous past to keep Tammy Sue out of jail and the case from going up in flames.

This is one of my favorite series and whenever I read the latest book, it feels like homecoming has arrived. Liz and Nate investigates a murder and with each step forward, their suspect list grows and it’s their tenacity that leads them to a killer.

The author has a way with the narrative that wrapped me up in a cocoon filled with southern charm and mayhem. Any book that makes me feel what the characters feel is a testament to the author’s ability to pull me in and create long-lasting moments to cherish.

The pacing fits the tempo of this enticingly intriguing tale where the mystery was executed nicely, keeping me in the throes of what was happening with the residents of Stella Maris, especially that tense moment when I couldn’t read fast enough to learn the outcome of the incident involving one of the duo. As always, I enjoy time spent with Liz’s parents who light up any scene they are featured in.

Boasting a superb cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a small-town atmosphere, this was one of the best book in this wonderfully endearing series.

Buy Link


FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Cover Reveal ~ Lowcountry Bonfire by Susan M. Boyer

I’m excited to reveal the cover for the sixth book in the “Liz Talbot” mystery series, coming June 27, 2017.

Title: Lowncountry Bonfire
Series: Liz Talbot #6
Genre: Traditional Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Website: Susan M. Boyer

Private Investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews have worked their share of domestic cases. When Tammy Sue Lyerly hires them to find out what her husband is up to—again—they expect to find it’s something looney but harmless. After all, this is the guy who claims to have been a DEA agent, a champion bull rider, and a NASCAR driver. When he turns up dead, Tammy is the prime suspect. Liz and Nate must dig through small town gossip and long buried secrets to keep Tammy Sue out of jail and keep themselves alive.


About the author
Susan M. Boyer’s debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and garnered several other nominations, including the Macavity. The third, Lowcountry Boneyard, was a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Okra Pick, a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist, and short-listed for the Pat Conroy Beach Music Mystery Prize. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone, and everyone has crazy relatives. You’ll find all of the above in her novels. She lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband and an inordinate number of houseplants.

Book is available for pre-order at retail and online booksellers.

A Day in the Life of Liz Talbot, PI, by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry Book Club

ONE

The dead are not abundantly sympathetic to their own. My best friend, Colleen, passed through the veil and into the great mystery eighteen years ago next month. She shed no tears over Shelby Scott Poinsett Gerhardt.

The photos of Shelby sprawled lifeless as a rag doll in the brick courtyard of her Tradd Street home would haunt me. I passed them to Nate, who was seated on my right in Fraser Rutledge’s office. Fraser was the senior partner at Rutledge and Radcliffe, a prestigious Charleston law firm.

“She’ll be much happier now.” Colleen’s tone rang casual to my ear. She should be ashamed of herself.

Colleen read my mind, literally.

“What?” Her jade green eyes telegraphed impatience. “Shelby was taken before her time. She’ll be back with a mission soon enough. I hear tell helping others is what this woman lived for. Leaving this life is not the tragedy you mortals think it is. It’s true what they say. She’s in a better place.”

I closed my eyes in an effort to shut her out. She was a distraction in her blue polka dot sundress, a wide-brimmed hat atop her long red curls, perched as she was on the corner of Fraser Alston Rutledge III’s heirloom desk. Of course only Nate and I could see or hear her.

Nate cleared his throat, muttered something.

I made out the words “control” and “ghost.”

I gave my head a little shake. As if. Nate was still coming to terms with Colleen. Right up until we’d said our “I Dos” in December, he’d been blissfully unaware of her presence in our lives. It was early May, and he still had a ways to go.

“Am I somehow failing to hold your interest?” Fraser elongated each syllable, his honeyed drawl spiked with irritation.

My eyes popped open. I felt at a disadvantage. We sat on the other side of his desk in his elegantly appointed Broad Street law office. Everything about the man and his surroundings, from the oil painting of him with two Brittany spaniels hanging on the cypress-paneled wall, to the black and white striped bowtie he wore with his grey seersucker suit, testified that his bona fides were in order, his Charleston heritage long and storied.

Fraser studied me.

“Quite to the contrary.” Nate’s easy tone sought to diffuse Fraser’s pique. “We’ll hold our questions for when you’ve finished outlining the case against your client. We’re eager to help, if we can.”

“Please continue,” I said.

“You appear somewhat distracted.” Fraser looked from me to Nate. “We cannot afford to piss away any more time. Our former investigator twiddled his Johnson for four months, billed us a sultan’s ransom, and found not one solitary shred of information we can use. Jury selection begins in two weeks.”

I looked past Colleen directly into Fraser’s eyes. They were tiger eyes, gold and speckled with brown. “You were telling us about your client.”

“Clint Gerhardt.” Eli Radcliffe didn’t quite spit the name out of his mouth, but he managed to convey his disapproval of Clint Gerhardt and all his ancestors. Eli, Fraser’s partner, sat to my left in one of four deep leather visitor chairs. “Naturally, we want to be as prepared as possible.”

“He doesn’t believe Clint Gerhardt is innocent.” Sometimes Colleen could read other minds besides mine. “He’s mad as blazes at his partner.”

You think? I threw the sarcasm-laced thought in her direction. Apparently, the message was also inscribed on my face.

Fraser caught my expression. He drew back, his visage washed in incredulity.

Let him interpret that look however he pleased. I was exhausted from listening to him talk. Why was Eli so mad at Fraser?

“Eli.” I rolled my voice in sugar sprinkles. “I’d love to hear your take on the case. Is there an avenue you think we should pursue first?”

From the corner of my eye, I caught Fraser’s raised eyebrow. “By all means, Eli. Enlighten them.”

Eli inhaled deeply, averted his soft brown eyes.

I scrutinized his profile. Flawless skin, the color of milk chocolate truffles, high cheekbones, and a strong chin made for a noble countenance. They were a study in similarities and contrasts, these three Southern men. All were well-educated, well-groomed, and fit. All spoke the native language of our people, understood the context words carried here. All had lovely drawls. Nate was the blue-eyed, blond-haired, laid-back prototype; Fraser the wealthy, eccentric, Old Charleston model; and Eli the self-made, cautious, black man.

Eli said, “It doesn’t matter what I think. Our client is innocent until proven guilty. We need to mount a vigorous defense, with a credible theory of the crime that does not include Clint Gerhardt throwing his wife out the second floor french doors of their home. Confidentially, Mrs. Gerhardt was prone to taking in strays. Most people, certainly the police, think Mr. Gerhardt is one she should’ve left at the pound.”

The Shelby Poinsett case took me to every corner of Charleston before it was over with. Let’s grab a chair, and I’ll tell you what happened. . .

Copyright © 2016 by Susan M. Boyer — This excerpt is reprinted by permission from Henery Press. All rights reserved.


Lowcountry Book Club is the fifth book in the Liz Talbot mystery series, published by Henery Press, July 2016.

Somebody pushed Shelby Poinsett Gerhardt out her second-floor library window and it wasn’t her husband. At least that what Charleston’s most prestigious law firm wants Liz Talbot to prove. Liz must run the spectrum of Southern society, from the local homeless shelter where Shelby volunteered to the one-hundred-year-old book club where Charleston’s genteel ladies are dying to join, to bring a killer to justice.

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About the author
Susan M. Boyer is the author of the USA TODAY bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the 2012 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and garnered several other award nominations, including the Macavity.

Lowcountry Boneyard, the third Liz Talbot mystery, was a Spring 2015 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick. It was also a finalist for The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Award in the Beach Music Mystery category and a finalist for the 2016 Daphne du Maurier Award in the Mainstream Mystery/Suspense category. Visit Susan at susanmboyerbooks.com.

Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of one of the books from the “Liz Talbot” series (Lowcountry Boil, Lowcountry Bombshell, Lowcountry Boneyard, Lowcountry Bordello or Lowcountry Book Club) – winner’s choice.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Lowcountry Book Club by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry Book Club by Susan M. Boyer is the fifth book in the “Liz Talbot” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, July 2016

Lowcountry Book ClubSo many books, so little time

Somebody pushed Shelby Poinsett out her second-floor library window and it wasn’t her husband. At least that’s what Charleston’s most prestigious law firm wants Liz Talbot to prove. Liz must run the spectrum of Southern society, from the local homeless shelter where Shelby volunteered to the one-hundred-year-old book club where Charleston’s genteel ladies are dying to join, to bring a killer to justice.

This was a great light drama, a little different and that’s what made for a book that I could not put down until the last page was read. I love how the premise, where the murder happens off the page, was brilliantly done seducing me with the narrative as I follow along with Liz and her friends in this tantalizing tale that radiates with southern charm. This evenly-paced and action-packed mystery was filled with intrigue and suspense as I had to know who did what to whom and why. The author did a great job in presenting this story with a lovable cast of characters, amusing family dynamics, engaging and witty dialogue and a feel-good atmosphere in this well-written drama. This is one of the best book in this enticingly endearing series and I look forward to the next adventures with Liz, Nate and the gang.

Just Another Day in the Life of PI Liz Talbot by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry BordelloThe dead are not altogether reliable. Colleen, my best friend, calls herself a Guardian Spirit. I can’t argue with the facts at hand: She’s been dead seventeen years, and she watches my back. I’m a private investigator, so situations arise from time to time wherein my back needs watching. Technically, Colleen’s afterlife mission is to protect Stella Maris, our island home near Charleston, South Carolina, from developers and all such as that. Since I’m on the town council and can’t abide the notion of condos and time-shares on our pristine beaches, protecting me falls under her purview.

Solving my cases, however, does not. She’ll tell me that in a skinny minute should I happen to mention how she could be more helpful. But she has been known to toss me the occasional insight from beyond that provokes a train of thought, which, upon reflection, proves useful. Here’s the thing: Colleen shows up when she detects I’m in danger. Sometimes she warns me in advance. Occasionally she drops by just to chat. But she doesn’t come whenever I think of her or call her name. It rarely works like that.

One Monday in December, I really could’ve used Colleen’s perspective. We were closing in on Christmas, and I was getting married on the twentieth—in five days. I was a teensy bit distracted, is what I’m saying.

It was a little after ten in the morning, and I was at my desk in the living room of my beachfront house, which doubles as my office. I was deep into research on a criminal case Nate, my partner and fiancé, and I were working for Andy Savage. Andy was a high profile Charleston attorney, and while this case didn’t amount to much more than fact-checking, we hoped it would lead to a lucrative relationship for Talbot and Andrews, our agency.

I stared at my computer screen and reached for one of Mamma’s Christmas cookies. My phone trilled out the ringtone named Old Phone. Old Phone was reserved for old friends. I grabbed my phone instead of the cookie.

Robert Pearson. He’d been a year ahead of me in high school, the same age as my brother, Blake. He’d married one of my best friends. Robert was also our family attorney, and he and I were both on the Stella Maris town council.

I tapped the green “accept” button.

After we exchanged the usual pleasantries, he said, “I wondered, if you’re not too busy, could you drop by this afternoon? There’s something I want to run by you.”

“I have an appointment at one that’s going to take most of the afternoon.” Multi-toned highlights are a maintenance issue, especially with hair as long as mine. My natural sandy blonde would turn Tweety Bird yellow if Dori looked at it wrong. She always took her time, but five days before my wedding she’d be excruciatingly meticulous. I couldn’t walk down the aisle with yellow hair.

“Noon?” he asked.

“Sure. See you then.”

“Thanks, Liz. I really appreciate it.” He sounded way too grateful for such an ordinary request. This is what should’ve tipped me off that something was up.

If I had known then everything that would follow, I would’ve still gone to gone by to talk to Robert. But the Pearson case hit closer to home than any other since my Gram died. Pull up a chair and I’ll tell you what happened. . .


You can read more about what happens next in Lowcountry Bordello, the fourth book in the “Liz Talbot” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first three books in the series are Lowcountry Boil, Lowcountry Bombshell. and Lowcountry Boneyard.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on November 9 for your chance to win a print copy of Lowcountry Boneyard. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Boyer-1773Susan M. Boyer is the author of the Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, is a USA Today Bestseller, an Agatha Award winner for Best First Novel, and a Macavity nominee, among others. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone, and everyone has crazy relatives. You’ll find all of the above in her novels.

Susan lives with her husband and an inordinate number of houseplants in Greenville, SC. Visit Susan at her website.

My Musing ~ Lowcountry Bordello by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry BordelloLowcountry Bordello by Susan M. Boyer is the fourth book in the “Liz Talbot” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, November 2015

The Charleston streets are dressed for the holidays in sophisticated Southern style: topiaries adorned with red ribbons, garland entwined with white lights, and poinsettias potted in gold planters. The high class bordello in a stately historic home is certainly no exception. When Private Investigator Liz Talbot’s dear friend Olivia swears she saw a dead body in the parlor of this bordello, one Olivia accidentally co-owns, Liz promptly comes to her aid.

With her wedding back home on Stella Maris less than a week away, Liz must juggle one elderly madam, two ex and future in-laws, three ghosts in the bordello, four giddy bridesmaids, five lovely courtesans, six suspicious patrons…and a partridge in a pear tree as she tries to keep her bridesmaid out of jail and live to walk down the aisle.

This series continues to get better and better like fine wine with each story told. I thoroughly enjoyed this delightfully charming romp as Liz gets prepared to marry while tackling a discreetly sensitive case with great aplomb and foresight. The author’s descriptive narrative puts me smack dab in the middle of all the action as I too, sift through the clues to seek out the identity of the perpetrator. Bubbling with southern charm, fast-paced and non-stop action, and the will to get to the church on time, this tale of secrecy, excitement and adventure kept me reading long past the twitching hour to see how it all ends in the genteel manner which infuses humor and murder in the telling of this tale. I can’t wait to see where we go next with Liz, Nate, Blake, Sonny, Colleen and the rest of the gang on Stella Maris.

A Day in the Life of PI Liz Talbot by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry BoneyardThe dead are not generally fretful of mortal affairs. My friend Colleen passed from this world to the next seventeen years ago last June. She can’t be bothered with global warming, the national debt, or those Duck Dynasty folks from Louisiana. She’s careful to stay focused on her mission, namely, protecting Stella Maris, our South Carolina island home, from the evils of high-rise resorts, timeshares, and all such as that. But occasionally, she fixates on what appear to be random concerns, mostly cases I’m working. Colleen minds my business, is what I’m saying.

To be fair, I make my living minding other people’s business. I’m a private investigator, licensed by the state. Roughly half of my casework is pre-trial investigation for criminal defense attorneys. Another quarter involves domestic misunderstandings. The remainder is a mixed bag of human comedy and suffering—everything from conspiracy to kidnap a prize hound for stud services to conspiracy to commit murder. Sometimes it’s difficult to know which I’m dealing with at first, but I pray for the wildly farcical.

That Tuesday in mid-October, I was sitting in an Adirondack chair on my deck savoring my second cup of coffee and the music of waves breaking and racing to shore. The sun was warm on my skin. I’d just finished a read-through of my final report on a case when a ringtone named pinball announced a caller not in my contacts list. I glanced at my iPhone. It was precisely nine o’clock. The number was local. I set my coffee down and picked up the phone.

“Talbot and Andrews Investigations.”

“Miss Talbot?” The man’s tone brought to mind a professor who’d caught me daydreaming in class.

I pulled the phone away from my face and scrutinized the number again. What the hell? “This is Liz Talbot. How can I help you?”

“Colton Heyward here. I’d like to arrange a meeting at your earliest convenience.”

Something heavy and dark settled in my chest. The Heyward family and their missing early-twenties daughter had been all over the news. Kent Heyward had vanished from the streets of Charleston one late summer evening. I closed my eyes and forced air into my lungs. “Of course. I’ll come whenever you like.”

He gave me his home address on lower Legare Street in Charleston and asked me to be there at ten o’clock the next morning. Had I not been familiar with the family, the address—which was south of Broad Street near where the Ashley River converges with the Cooper to sculpt the end of the Charleston peninsula—would’ve told me I was likely dealing with old money and a family tree including names from history books.

Wednesday morning Colleen woke me at 4:45. She pestered the fire out of me to get an early start, proceeding to inform me of the time every five minutes during my run, shower, and the berry-yogurt-granola parfait which failed to summon my appetite. Kent Heyward’s disappearance weighed heavy on my heart. It haunted the entire lowcountry. I was both eager to help and apprehensive. What could I do that hadn’t been done?

If I had known then everything that would follow, I would’ve still gone to Charleston that morning. But the Heyward case changed me in ways I’m still coming to terms with. Let’s grab a chair, and I’ll tell you what happened. . .


You can read more about Liz in Lowcountry Boneyard, the third book in the “Liz Talbot” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first two books in the series are Lowcountry Boil and Lowcountry Bombshell.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 28 for the chance to win either a print or an e-book copy of Lowcountry Boneyard–winner’s choice. The print giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. The e-book giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Susan M. Boyer is the author of the Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, is a USA Today Bestseller, an Agatha Award winner for Best First Novel, and a Macavity nominee, among others. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone, and everyone has crazy relatives. You’ll find all of the above in her novels.

Susan lives with her husband and an inordinate number of houseplants in Greenville, SC. Visit Susan at her website.

My Musing ~ Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry BoneyardLowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer is the third book in the “Liz Talbot” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, April 2015

Where is Kent Heyward? The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes.

But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Kent and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk.

Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Kent, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.

Secrets abound in this telling tale of family dysfunction of which once you open a can of worms, you can’t go back and the resulting nature leads to the inevitable as Liz and Nate discover in this provocative drama that had my heart palpitating as I had to know how this will all end. From beginning to end, this book captured the soul of the chase and the triumph of justice’s reign. Liz is the gutsy heroine who leads this drama and with guidance from an angel, we see her strengths and determination in all that she does. This brilliantly executed and well defined mystery left me mesmerized by all things Southern in one fell swoop. Boasting a superb cast of characters, engaging conversations, a feel good atmosphere and all-around entertaining whodunit, this is the best book yet in this wonderfully charming series.