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CR3 #40: Sweet and Deadly by Charlaine Harris

Six months ago, Catherine Linton's parents both died in a suspicious car accident, leaving 23-year-old Catherine to fend for herself in her small hometown. After she has finally gotten her life back together (more or less) she goes out to do some target shooting one morning and finds a horribly mutilated dead body. Things go downhill from there. There follows another dead body, some romance, some intrigue, and the usual mystery story tropes.

This is Charlaine Harris's first published novel, and although it's definitely not up to her later work, you can see where she is headed. The small town, the quirky heroine, the budding romance--all of these are things that will show up later in her other series. The character of Catherine most closely resembles Ro Teagarden, in that she is nothing more than a petite and often frightened woman. However, she uses her brains to solve the murders and catch the perpetrator. However, she can be just a tiny bit too nervous and whiny for my taste. The side characters aren't bad, though it seems Harris hadn't yet developed her knack for interesting secondary characters yet.

This isn't a bad book if you like this kind of mystery story, but it's nothing I'd recommend vigorously.

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