I think after the second book, I am seriously in love with this series.
Abigail Keam has given us another book in The Josiah Reynolds Mysteries series and this one packs one hell of a punch. Death by Honeybee was tense as it introduced a strong willed woman with a chip on her shoulder (thanks to her now deceased ex-husband, and his widow and child) and someone trying to frame her for murder. Honeybee ended with one hell of a literal cliffhanger and the promise of more intrigue coming.
Well, the promise is delivered in the second book, Death By Drowning. The story begins with the aftermath of Honeybee and a badly wounded, physically wrecked Josiah Reynolds. Having to recover from a near fatal attack, it's not an easy thing. And the pain that goes with the recovery leaves an emotional morass that Josiah is not sure she'll recover from, or if she even wants to recover from. The woman has hit rock bottom, but Gods love her, she's still sassy.
A visitor from Kentucky makes her way down to see Josiah, to ask a favor. Her nephew has died and while the authorities think it was an accidental drowning, Irene Meckler and her sister think it's a bit more sinister than that. And, to make life really complicated, the man who tried to kill her and was responsible for putting Josiah in the hospital to begin with might still be alive.
The wonderful thing about murder cozies is that, unlike procedurals, these books invest in the characters and their interactions with each other. Meeting Shaneika and Matt, friends and Josiah's lawyers, as well as Matt's lover, Franklin, and Jake Dosh, the physician's assistant/physical therapist/bodyguard that Josiah's daughter hired to take care of her mother, and you have a full list of wonderful characters to help Josiah and keep her feet on the ground in her healing. and those interactions are delightful. But they never stray from the story or get lost in places they don't belong. Keam's characters are alive and real. People I would love to be friends with.
The story is well paced filled with twists and turns and danger. And very well nuanced. I so seldom find books that take my by the hand and hold on to me until I'm done. This was one of those books. I felt Josiah's pain, her dependence on the medication that's slowly taking her down a bad road but I understood her reasoning for wanting to be that dependent. The new investigation serves as a reason for her to get up and get out and she goes at it with vigor. I had to put it down to sleep or eat or do the day job and every moment I wasn't reading, I was trying to figure out the next step. Or wonder what was happening to Josiah now. There was never a moment that I felt things were going too slowly or too quickly.
I love strong female characters but there is a vulnerability to Josiah in this book. She's still not taking crap from anyone, and she may be physically weak but she's certainly not mentally weak. I love her as much as I love Mona Moon, another of Keam's series. I love how the men are equally strong without doing the mansplaining or condescension that Alpha men can do. Their interference is minimal and for the right reasons. They interact with each other as well as they interact with Josiah in trying to keep her safe and get her healthy.
The investigation comes with complications and twists too. Just when you think the investigation is coming to a head, it twists into another direction and what you thought you knew is nothing. The kind of plot that keeps you guessing but really does follow a logical progression.
Death by Drowning has only whet my appetite for more and thankfully, there are more books to get now and not have to wait for another to come out. Although, I'm waiting for the new Mona Moon. *wink*. At least I can get my Josiah Reynolds fix satisfied in the meantime. And a new book in that series coming on April 12th, I have time to catch up and be ready. I can't wait.
I'm giving Abigail Keam's Death By Drowning 5 out of 5 stars for great characters, constantly moving and tense plot, and a superb heroine. A "gotta have" read here.