by Molly Harper
Series: Southern Eclectic #1.5
Also in this series: Ain't She a Peach?
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: April 9, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
A prank war erupts in Lake Sackett, Georgia and coroner Frankie McCready has to turn to the gorgeous but surly new sheriff for help in Molly Harper’s newest Southern Eclectic novella, perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Amy E. Reichert.
The McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop has crickets running rampant in the store and hot sauce in the Snack Shack’s ketchup bottles. But as the county coroner, Frankie has enough on her plate without worrying about the increasingly mean pranks being played at her family’s business. And the arrival of Sheriff Eric Linden, both devastatingly attractive and painfully taciturn, is enough to push her over the edge.
Linden, who didn’t seem to get the memo about men in uniform and Southern charm, is condescending and cold, revealing absolutely nothing about his past as an Atlanta police officer, while also making Frankie’s job as coroner as difficult as possible. And with the town’s Fourth of July celebration coming up, it’s essential for McCready’s to be cricket-free and in good working order. Strangling the sheriff will make her job even harder. Can Frankie hold off the threats to preserve her own sanity?
With her trademark “clever humor, snark, silliness, and endearing protagonists” (Booklist), Molly Harper invites fans to return to the family they first met in Sweet Tea and Sympathy. Y’all sit down and stay a while, won’t you?
Trigger warnings: childhood cancer survivor, description of a fatal boating accident
“Junior had been one of the best men she ever knew, and Frankie was blessed enough to know a wealth of good men. She hadn’t dated one yet, because she was related to most of them, and even though this was Georgia, there were laws against that sort of thing.”
This is the third book in the Southern Eclectic series, set in the small town of Lake Sackett, Georgia, and features possibly my favorite character, Frankie, the quirky coroner. However, I wouldn’t recommend starting the series with this book. Do yourself a favor and start with the first novella – Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck – because all these books are hilarious, quick reads and ever so much fun.
“Are you unfamiliar with the one-night-stand procedure?” she asked. “It’s ‘I came, I saw, I got out with as little fuss as possible.’ Not ‘I came, I saw, I neglected to mention I’ll be followin’ you to your hometown and workin’ in a close professional capacity with you for the foreseeable future.’ ”
Since the first book, I’ve been a fan of smart aleck Frankie, with her kaiju shirts and nerd cred. As a childhood cancer survivor who still lives at the family compound in a small Southern town, life can get a bit… stifling. Luckily, Frankie loves her job and the town, and it’s close enough to Atlanta that she can take off and blow off some steam on the weekends. Unfortunately, some of that follows her back to Lake Sackett when her latest one-night-stand turns out to be the new sheriff, and he’s prickly, standoffish, and complete immune to Frankie’s charm. Trying to work with him – while simultaneously trying to manage an escalating prank war from a spoiled brat teen – is enough to put Frankie off her momma’s deep fried food. Like Frankie, these books have a certain feel – they’re undeniably Southern (gently making fun while also being respectful), quirky, and just generally charming. So far, they’ve all been lighthearted, quick reads, perfect escapist reading material. They always put a smile on my face, no matter how short they are.
And, unfortunately, that’s my main issue with this book – it reads more like a preview for the next novel rather than a standalone novella. It ends abruptly, with none of the issues resolved (except a minor boating death). I hadn’t been paying attention to how far into the book I was (it’s just so much fun, you don’t really notice the time flying by) so it was especially jarring to just turn the page and be at the end. Also, while the blurb mentions Fourth of July, but the novella actually takes place in late summer / early autumn.
Overall, despite the fact that it didn’t feel like a complete story, I enjoyed reading about Frankie so much that I’d give it 3.5 llamas, rounded up to 4. I’m very much looking forward to Frankie’s book, which comes out in June!