Short & Sweet Sundays: Foal Play by Kathryn O’Sullivan

Sundays are a day of rest. So in honor of this one day of the week when I can legitimately loaf around in my Garfield jammies in front of the DVR, I bring you “Short and Sweet Sundays.” This is a fun way for me to write up a quick and dirty book blog without getting too wordy.

16049609From the publisher: Colleen McCabe is enjoying an uneventful summer in North Carolina’s Outer Banks supervising her firefighters, making rounds with her Border collie, Sparky, and keeping an eye on the wild horses escaped from the local sanctuary. But when a dead body washes up on shore, she knows trouble has arrived in Corolla.

Colleen is ready to start work on the investigation, but much to her irritation, her best friend, Sheriff Bill Dorman, makes it clear he doesn’t want her butting her nose in or poking around. The stubborn Colleen, however, is not so easily deterred. When a man with a gun is spotted lurking around the lighthouse and her former school teacher’s house explodes, she adds arson and a second suspicious death to her informal investigation.  Colleen soon finds herself juggling her job, amorous advances from the town’s developer, and intrusions from the local press, all while keeping information from Bill. Her secret sleuthing quickly comes to an end, however, when a bigger threat enters the picture.

The biggest selling point: It’s a tossup between an eclectic cast of loveable characters and the gorgeous coastal setting. If I had to choose, I’d say the characters really stole the show.  Colleen embodies everything I love in a female protagonist. She’s fearless, strong-willed, witty – and an animal lover to boot. Plus she’s a firehouse chief, which is quite impressive all in itself! Her colorful sidekicks were all very amusing, especially the flirtatious real estate developer, Pinky Salvatore, who habitually summoned her to his bachelor pad with smoke signals.  But most of all – I enjoyed Colleen’s horse-herding border collie, Sparky.

What irked me: I can’t go into details because I’d give the whole thing away, so I’ll just say that a major component of the story requires a suspension of disbelief. To be honest, it didn’t really bother me because I was too busy zipping through the pages to find out whodunit!

This book is best paired with: A tequila sunrise and the Endless Summer soundtrack.

Overall assessment:  If you love animals, charming small-town settings and entertaining characters, this book’s for you. The mystery unfolds at a steady pace, and even the most seasoned mystery buffs are likely to be surprised by the ending.  All in all, this is one heck of a debut, and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment. Want to know more about this talented new author? Check out her Q&A on Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries and More.

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