Monday, June 22, 2015

Deeper Than the Grave (Tai Randolph Mysteries #4) by Tina Whittle

It s taken almost a year, but Tai Randolph has her new life together. She s running a semisuccessful Atlanta gun shop catering to Civil War re-enactors. Her lover, the sexy-if-securityobsessed Trey Seaver, is sorting out his challenges. There s not a single corpse on her horizon, and her previously haphazard existence is finally stable, secure and unsurprising. Then a tornado blows by a Kennesaw Mountain cemetery, scattering the skeletal remains of a Confederate hero. Assisting the bones recovery effort is a job her late Uncle Dexter would have relished, as does Tai. Does she hit the jackpot on discovering a jumble of bones in the underbrush? No. The bones reveal a more recent murder, with her deceased uncle leading the suspect list. As Tai struggles to clear Dexter s name and save the business he left her she uncovers deadly secrets were also buried in the red Georgia clay. And realizes there s a live murderer on the loose, a clever killer who has tried to conceal the crimes of the present in the stories of the past. As she risks her own life to unravel two mysteries one from a previous century, one literally at her doorstep Tai rediscovers her dangerous taste for murder and mayhem."

Tai Randolph has her hands full running her uncle’s gun shop in Atlanta.  She is busy sorting through inventory and getting records ready for her governmental audit. She is also dealing with a disapproving neighbor who is quite perturbed about Tai’s parking space of choice behind her shop.  Her personal life is on the upswing, with her boyfriend Trey Seaver, a former law enforcement officer providing all of the support she needs.  Even though they are both recovering from the emotional effects of recent experiences, they are growing closer than ever.
            A tornado in the area disturbs the bones of one Braxton Amberdecker, a private from the Civil War.  His coffin was unearthed and the bones that were discovered in the coffin are most assuredly NOT from the Civil War era.  Well, unless Civil War soldiers wore NASCAR belt buckles, that is.  What follows is a search into the identity of the dead man and the long-buried secrets of the Amberdecker family.  When Tai’s late uncle is suspected in the misdeeds that led to the murder, she seeks to clear his name and to put an end to the mystery.
            I have not read any of the other books in this series, but I am eager to do so.  I adored the characters in this novel.  Tai is a bit hot headed and impulsive.  She thinks before she acts, but she is smart.  Trey is more reserved, collected, and methodical.  The two work well together, even when they are bumping heads.  Their relationship, still affected by their collective PTSD, worked for me.  They showed growth from the beginning of the book to the end.  The touches of humor were not overdone and the tone of the book was serious but light-hearted.
            I hate to compare this book to any other, but I think fans of Janet Evanovich might like this one—particularly those who have grown weary of the stale, same old story.  Tina Whittle gets it right—providing a satisfying mystery, characters with complexities and personality, and a compelling setting.
            I am absolutely going to find the other books in the series and read them.  (I did not find having not read them in order to be a problem.)  Tina Whittle has a new fan!
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Regina

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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