Portrait of a Dead Guy is a stunning debut. It's fun, enjoyable, and down to earth. The mystery remains one until the end with understandable missteps and misleads. It's a small town mystery with a working class cast that's refreshing. Characters pop and Cherry is a new favorite, especially considering she calls an asshat an asshat. She's strong with clear flaws and her family is as tight as they are annoying (to each other).
I'm definitely reading the next book, Last Dinner Standing. If you're feeling disappointed and disenchanted, Portrait of a Dead Guy will renew your love for this genre.
Series: A Cherry Tucker Mystery #1
Genre: Cozy, Mystery,
Format: PB, 270 pgs.
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Rating: 5 Stars
In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge -- but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.
As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.
Ah, the love triangle. What ever would we do without you? I will say though that Cherry has her mind about her and knows what she wants. Her problem is getting her backbone to cooperate.
Its not bad, drawn-out or whiney. It's just there. Oh well, I'll be happy that it wasn't worse and dance on its grave in the sequel.
Small towns and its inhabitants
Things get twisted in small towns. It's mob mentality that settled down with tribalism and going against the flow is futile. Because you are in or out.
Rather than some idealized nonsense, it felt like home to this small town girl. It sounds awful, and it certainly can be with people knowing everything and pretending otherwise. This realistic portrayal does show how small towns work and why people stay. Sounds crazy but it works.
The background characters are engaging and you'll love 'em or hate 'em. It's refreshing that they are working class. Like my hometown, one family owns everything and the rest struggle to get by. Honestly, these characters can't afford to miss shifts and have to work in the sleuthing on their off time. How fucking wonderful is that?
Oh yeah. I loved it and Cherry's voice. This sentence in particular: "The object of my desire, Todd's functioning vehicle, jerked to a stop at the curb while the object of my ire bounded up the slope to my porch. " Cherry is an artist and it colors her speech beautifully in other examples.