About the book, Copper Waters
- Series: Annalisse, Book 4
- Genre: International Mystery / Crime / Romantic Suspense
- Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
- Date of Publication: October 7, 2022
- Number of Pages: 340
- Scroll down for the giveaway!
A rural New Zealand vacation turns poisonous.
Antiquities expert Annalisse Drury and tycoon Alec Zavos are at an impasse in their relationship when Alec refuses to clear up a paternity issue with an ex-lover.
Frustrated with his avoidance when their future is at stake, Annalisse accepts an invitation from an acquaintance to fly to New Zealand—hoping to escape the recent turbulence in her life.
But even Annalisse’s cottage idyll on the family sheep farm isn’t immune to intrigue.
Alec sends a mutual friend and detective, Bill Drake, to follow her, and a local resident who accompanies them from the Christchurch airport dies mysteriously soon after. A second violent death finds Annalisse and Bill at odds with the official investigations.
The local police want to close both cases as quickly as possible—without unearthing the town’s dirty secrets.
As she and Bill pursue their own leads at serious cost, the dual mysteries force Annalisse to question everything she thought she knew about family ties, politics, and the art of small-town betrayal.
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About the author, Marlene M. Bell
Marlene M. Bell is an eclectic mystery writer, artist, photographer, and she raises sheep in beautiful East Texas with her husband, Gregg, three cats and a flock of horned Dorset sheep.
The Annalisse series — mysteries with a touch of romance — has received numerous honors including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery (Spent Identity) and FAPA (Florida Author’s President’s Gold Award) for two other installments, Stolen Obsession and Scattered Legacy. She also penned the first of her children’s picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. The simple text and illustrations are a touching tribute of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb.
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While Copper Waters is the first in this series that I’ve read, I had the honor of sharing a guest post from the author five years ago, when the first book in the Annalisse series was being launched. I made a note to read it, but time got away from me, as sometimes happens, so this book, number four, is my first. Before I go any further, let me assure you that it functions just fine as a stand-alone. There’s enough backstory to make the recurring characters (most notably Annalisse herself) feel familiar without overburdening the reader with too much information.
This novel begins with the heroine, antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury, accepts an invitation to visit a friend’s sheep farm in New Zealand and escape her complicated relationship with Alex Zavros for a while. Of course her break is cut short when murder ensues, and her sleuthing skills must be put to use. What follows is a fast-paced crime solving story with touches of relationship drama and great scenery that only begins with rural New Zealand and expands to Christchurch and beyond.
While I loved the characters, and wouldn’t mind if Annalisse was my new best friend (her tendency to attract dead bodies notwithstanding), I thought the character of Bill Drake balanced her well, and if these two aren’t already a recurring crime-fighting duo, they should be.
What really sold me on this book, though, is the author’s writing style. Bell’s prose is crisp and precise, her dialogue is always on point, and she blends vivid descriptions with just enough character work to leave you with a mental image that still has room for your own imagination to overlay details. The pacing (as I mentioned before) of Copper Waters was also excellent. Time was spent where it was needed, and sped up where that would have the best effect. It’s this willingness to let the reader breathe, as much as the actual story, that made reading this book such a great experience.
I also really loved the New Zealand setting. It’s a rare location for a novel, but a great choice for anyone who loves sheep, and I enjoyed that this book wasn’t centered in Sydney or somewhere in Europe.
Now that I’ve read book four, I’ve gone back and downloaded books one through three, and am looking forward to immersing myself in them at my earliest opportunity.
Overall, this is a well-crafted, compelling story with believable characters.
Goes well with: Shepherd’s pie – the authentic version, made with lamb. And hard cider.
ONE GRAND PRIZE WINNER:
$50 VISA Card, 100% New Zealand gray wool throw, leather bucket bag, signed ARC paperback of Copper Waters, Hagestad hammered copper water bottle, Lucy Pittaway notebook
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 3/3/2023)
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