Portrait of a Dead Guy. by Larissa Reinhart. Henery Press 2012. ISBN-13: 978–938383-02-1
I obtained this copy at the GaCOMO Conference. One of my favorite parts of the conference is the author reception. Of course, I love the whole conference and always return full of fresh & fantastic ideas. But I come home with a bag full of books too 🙂
This year the first author I met was Larissa. She was delightful. We chatted a bit about being from the Midwest and relocating to the South. I think she embraced it a bit more readily than I did ~ Not that I haven’t grown to LOVE it!! But I did have a bit of culture shock. I believe Larissa’s journey was Midwest to Japan to the South. I guess moving to Japan will use up all of your culture shock. Anyway, after working my way around the room, I was drawn back to her table. I’m a sucker for a light, candy read as a palate cleanser between more meaty stuff. This Cherry Tucker chick seemed to fit the bill. Spunky female solves crime with a handsome sidekick or two… that’s my recipe for a fun quick read. Seems to be Larissa’s as well. So I bought the book & lined it up next to some of my other favorite authors – yes, some of which I haven’t read their books either.
Then the other day, I was in search of a good candy read. I’d worked through the warped Chop, Chop and then a couple of business focused books, and I needed something funny, light, and above all else entertaining. You know, your basic page turner. I was hesitant to grab Portrait of a Dead Guy because what if I didn’t like it? Could I write an honest review? Well, no need to fret… It is a keeper!
Portrait of a Dead Guy introduces us to Cherry Tucker. Cherry is an artist in the small town of Halo, Georgia. Cherry’s family isn’t quite from the wrong side of the tracks, but let’s just say she has some disadvantages in small town living. As you can imagine, art doesn’t provide the most secure financial footing in a small town. Out of desperation, Cherry accepts a creepy assignment to immortalize a town misfit from a good family. From there on out, things actually find a way to go downhill.
Unlike other female mystery series, Cherry isn’t the town busy-body but she does have something to prove. Her lack of experience leaves her learning through trial and error. Like other great mysteries, there is a healthy dose of romantic tension. Cherry finds herself shuffling between Todd, her sorta ex-husband, and Luke, a past crush back in town and better than ever.
I love that I didn’t figure out the mystery prior to the big reveal. The twists and turns hit me unexpectedly, but not unbelievably. The story is well crafted and within the overall context. I never felt purposefully mislead for effect – but I did utter an ‘ah-ha!’
I would generally recommend this for new adults and up. Some of the language is ‘choice’ but never vulgar. There is sexual tension but never graphic descriptions.
Like Cherry, I can do some great thinking over beer & wings. So here’s our companion recipe:
Chicken Wings 3 Ways: Salt & Vinegar, Garlic Parmesan, and Teriyaki
4# of wings in total. 1# was Teriyaki, 1.5# Salt & Vinegar, 1.5# Garlic Parmesan.
First, preheat to 400 & cover 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spray foil with nonstick spray.
For Salt & Vinegar and Garlic Parmesan:
Combine: 1 t Oregano, 1/2 t cumin, 1 t salt and toss with 3# wings Bake in a single layer for about 50 minutes, flipping half way through.
While they are baking:
Salt & Vinegar: combine 3 T white vinegar & 1/2 t salt in a plastic zippered bag. Toss 1/2 of wings in this to finish and serve.
Garlic Parmesan: combine 2T Olive Oil, 2 T fresh basil, thinly sliced, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese (the almost powdered shelf stable kind seems to work best) in a plastic zippered bag. Toss 1/2 of wings in this to finish and serve.
Combine: 1 T olive oil, 1 t seasoning salt, 1 t onion powder, 1 t garlic powder, and pinch of black pepper and toss with wings. Bake in a single layer for about 45 minutes, flipping half way through.
While they are baking, mix 1/2 c cold water, 3/4 c brown sugar, 1/2 c soy sauce, 1 t garlic powder, 3 T cornstarch in a bowl. Microwave for 1 minute to dissolve brown sugar.
Dip wings in sauce and return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes. Sauce will brown and become sticky. Pour remaining sauce over wings and serve.
All 3 were fantastic and super easy. My boys were in hog heaven.