Today I am the tour host for Claire Booth’s TLC Book Tour. Join me as I tell you about this delightful new novel.
I choose to participate in this blog tour because of the story’s location, Branson, Missouri. Branson is in a beautiful area in southwestern Missouri. Several decades ago we lived in the Kansas City area and often went down to the area for camping and fishing vacations. Back then Branson was a sleepy little tourist town. Then, one day, the Nashville music world discovered it. Soon thereafter there were huge concert halls, other music-style venues, various tourist establishments and giant tour buses. The traffic became impossible and it was no longer attractive. We stopped going, but kept our fond memories of the old days. I’m curious about how the town is doing so I decided to take a fictional visit.
The Branson Beauty, an old showboat, has crashed in the waters of an Ozark mountain lake just outside the popular tourist destination of Branson, Missouri. More than one hundred people are trapped aboard. Hank Worth is still settling into his new role as county sheriff, and when he responds to the emergency call, he knows he’s in for a long winter’s day of helping elderly people into rafts and bringing them ashore. He anticipates a lot of anxiety, many arguments, and extra costs for emergency equipment that will stretch the county’s already thin budget to the breaking point. But those are the least of his worries after he discovers high school track star Mandy Bryson’s body locked inside the Captain’s private dining room.
In her captivating debut novel, Claire Booth has created a broad cast of wonderfully compelling characters, and writes with a style that perfectly blends humor with the emotional drama and heartache of a murder investigation. (Publisher: Minotaur Books July 19, 2016)
This was a very good mystery – a good story. It did not read like a debut novel at all. Of course, the author has a strong journalism career behind her (see below) which helps. Claire Booth definitely knows how to write.
And, she definitely knows how to develop characters. I really liked the main character, Sheriff Hank Worth. He’s a professional, but he has common sense, a sense of humor, and an ability to handle the public with kindness, care and sensitivity. He’s great with his staff too. I like the nicknames he has for various members. Since Hank is going to be the star of this series, I’m glad he’s so likable.
Hank isn’t the only character I liked or who made the story interesting and fun. There is actually a pretty big cast of characters. I like that at the beginning of a series. As the series unfolds I get to see how these “people” I met in book 1 are progessing. It also shows that the author is thoughtful enough to create a whole book community we can visit with every time she writes a new book. I don’t know why more series authors don’t do this.
There’s no doubt I’ll be reading book 2 and 3 and however many more there will be. Good writing, good story, well-designed plot, and best of all, great realistic characters. Although there is a murder, this is not a blood and gore novel. On the other hand it’s not a sickly-sweet cozy either. It’s the kind of story mystery lovers like me appreciate. I’m happy to recommend The Branson Beauty to you.
About the Author:
Claire Booth spent more than a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, much of it covering crimes so convoluted and strange they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in, yes, strange and convoluted ways. For more about Claire, her books, and some of the true crimes she’s covered, please visit her website.
Thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book and to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of it all. To see other stops on the book tour, visit the schedule here: Claire Booth’s Book Tour Schedule