Campbell Hale is not in the music business, but her interest in a country legend just may get her killed anyway. Peggy O’Neal Peden’s Your Killin’ Heart, winner of the Malice Domestic prize for a debut mystery, offers an engaging protagonist, an unexpected plot twist, and an insider’s view of Nashville.
Naturally she wants to learn more about Jake Miller, his widow, and those who surrounded her—despite the warnings of her boyfriend, the detective assigned to the case, and probably more than a few readers. When Campbell’s curiosity draws the attention of the killer, it becomes obvious that this person has no qualms about killing again.
This cozy mystery is a worthy debut. Campbell is a likable character. And unlike some fictional detectives, Sam Davis is neither condescending nor clueless. He’s a well-rounded character in his own right.
And Campbell’s description of driving to work on a rainy day will bring a sigh of recognition to locals: “Nashville is a bad town for driving, and bad weather seems to bring out the aggression in us. We drive too fast and too close. I try to leave a little extra space when it rains, but invariably someone cuts in front of me, signaling only after he’s changed lanes to announce his accomplishment instead of his intent.”
Your Killin’ Heart is an entertaining mystery and a good addition to a vacation reading list. Even more so if that vacation destination is Nashville, Tennessee.
Faye Jones, dean of learning resources at Nashville State Community College, writes the Jolly Librarian blog for the college’s Mayfield Library. She earned her doctorate in nineteenth-century literature at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.