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The Cantaloupe Thief #1, in the Branigan Powers Mystery series, by Deb Richardson-Moore
Branigan Powers, is a reporter hired to investigate the unsolved 10 year old murder of a wealthy widow. Malachi Martin is a homeless man who is a possible suspect. Having a brother who had a promising career destroyed by drugs, she enlists Malachi to help solve the case thinking he will see things otherwise hidden from the rest of the population.
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: Lion Fiction
Publication Date: 2016
Series: Branigan Powers Mystery
After the Wedding Came the Marriage: P.S. I Love and Forgive YouStella LouiseWestBow Press / 2016 / Trade Paperback$19.08
joyful334209FLAge: 45-54Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5There is Amazing GraceOctober 6, 2016joyful334209FLAge: 45-54Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Talk about Amazing Grace - it left me saying how sweet the sound - what an amazing story a great mystery with a very different slant that I haven't seen. It is unusual, authentic, and not just your clear cut mystery that everyone expects and I am so glad about that - don't you get tired of those - well this is one that you will be so pleasantly surprised at what you are reading - this book pulls you by the collar and says alright you you are coming with me - you are my partner and we are going to figure this out - and now you are a part of the story - this is about a girl who is investigating the cold-case murder of Alberta Grambling Resnick from ten years ago. She meets Malachi Ezekiel Martin, a homeless war veteran who is also a possible suspect and asks for his help and he does - you see the homeless know more than you think they do - they know the underworld because of where they live they see the good the bad and the ugly. Deb has a friend Liam who runs a homeless shelter - so she gets to talk to the homeless and gets information from them - gets to know them - you see people don't even realize that the homeless are there when they are there - like they don't exist - so they do and say things in front of them that they wouldn't do in front of someone else - so they know things that normal people wouldn't . Liam Deb and Malachi all go and try to figure out this murder and I tell you what - well I cannot tell you what - you have to get the book to find out what - the ending is a shocker - a true shocker - and it would be a shame if you didn't get to know what actually happens. Go get the book - you wont regret it. I received this book to read and give you an honest review.
Carole JarvisJonesboro, GeorgiaAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Entertaining, compelling and memorableJuly 23, 2016Carole JarvisJonesboro, GeorgiaAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0With The Cantaloupe Thief, debut author Deb Richardson-Moore has penned a fantastic mystery novel compelling, entertaining, and memorable in every way. Debs writing is top notch, not a single word wasted. The mystery itself is well plotted with the gradual peeling back of layers and an ending that left me in shock. Two other strengths are the rich character depth and an unusual focus on the homeless. This is one of my all-time favorite mysteries, making Deb Richardson-Moore a must read for me.
The Cantaloupe Thief is published by Lion Hudson, a British publisher that I count on for excellent stories, many of which are set in Great Britain. While The Cantaloupe Thief takes place in the southeast US, it has the same feel as other Christian fiction by this publisher a little more liberal than American standards, but nothing that I found offensive.
The story is set in the mid-size northeast Georgia town of Grambling, described in such vivid detail that it felt like a major character. As a resident of Georgia, I loved the incorporation of familiar places like Lake Hartwell and Edisto, South Carolina. But as picturesque as Grambling might be, there is another side to it that of the citys homeless population, who actually play a big part in the story. I loved the realism of this theme and the fact that Deb conveyed their stories and thoughts in ways that caused me to think. Deb actually pastors the homeless at a church in South Carolina, and her caring passion is evident on every page.
In investigating the cold-case murder of the wealthy Alberta Grambling Resnick ten years earlier, Branigan seeks the help of Malachi Ezekiel Martin, a homeless war veteran who is also a possible suspect. The story focuses on the concept that homeless people get overlooked, and hence see things that are concealed from the rest of the population. Malachi had lived in Gramblings shadows long enough to know about its underside; to know how the rich and poor, the sophisticated and the raw, the proper and the dangerous, merged after dark. Also adding much interest to the story is that Branigans twin brother is a homeless addict.
Im intrigued by Malachi and also enjoyed Branigans friend Liam, who runs a shelter for the homeless. Branigan, Malachi and Liam are a complex trio and Im very eager to see these characters developed further. The Cantaloupe Thief begins a promising new series. Best of the best for me.
Thank you to Lion Hudson for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5what is next from this author?July 18, 2016lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Branigan Powers is 41 years old and a reporter in a town in Georgia. The town is growing from small to medium in size, but the newspaper is struggling to maintain readership. The older folks in town still subscribe to the paper, but the younger set get their news via the internet. Branigan is given the story of a 10-year-old murder, the only unsolved murder in the town. With the 10th anniversary of the murder, Branigan revisits the family of the victim to interview them again in the hopes that maybe they might remember something.
A new angle presents itself to interview the homeless in relation to this crime, which Branigan does with the help of her good friend, Liam, a former reporter turned pastor. Branigan also gets help from some of the homeless in town who participate in Liams mission, outreach programs to the homeless. Then, unexpectedly, Branigans brother returns to town. He has been homeless and addicted to alcohol and drugs for years. He has been gone from town for twelve years. He has returned home to warn his son, who has been raised by Liam, of the dangers of addiction and how easy it can happen. As Branigan pursues her interviews, homeless people begin to be murdered. Have Branigans questions and pursuit of truth caused the murderer of ten years ago to become nervous or are these killings of the homeless even related to the 10-year-old murder at all? Is there a new killer on the streets?
For me, this would have been a 5-star rating if there wasnt the use of foul language (no f-bomb) and the several references to drinking that were not in relation to the alcohol issue presented in the story. With alcoholism one of the problems of some of the homeless that was highlighted in the book, I thought it was a conflict of interest that Branigan, the nonalcoholic, seemed to want a drink so often. I thought the author did a great job of bringing to the forefront the homeless people and the myriad of problems they face. She gave them a real face, making readers aware of how they are treated as invisible or disposable. This aspect of the story really made me think about this social issue in my own city. The mystery itself was intriguing and kept me interested from beginning to end.
MeezCarrie4 Stars Out Of 5Well-plotted mystery but so much moreJuly 18, 2016MeezCarrieQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Deb Richardson-Moores debut fiction novel The Cantaloupe Thief is a fantastic example of the classic advice to write what you know. A former journalist, Deb is now a pastor who has works with the homeless. In The Cantaloupe Thief, we see the merging of each of these worlds as well as a stellar mystery that will keep surprising you.
I love how the details of the cold-case murder are revealed in layers, sometimes through chapters that put us at the scene ten years ago and sometimes through interviews with people who are somehow involved. This helps the mystery to continue being mysterious as well as letting us the readers become amateur detectives of a sort along with newspaper reporter Branigan Powers. And while were all trying to figure out the cold case, more murders keep piling up in the present day. Related? Maybe. Maybe not.
The Cantaloupe Thief is part cozy mystery, part southern fiction, and part eye-opener. The cozy mystery and southern fiction aspects are fairly obvious amateur sleuth, loyal pet, small town in Georgia. But Deb Richardson-Moore takes us deeper than either of those genres usually dare to go by giving us a glimpse into the lives of those who so often remain invisible the homeless and the addicted.
Through the compassion of the authors writing style, through the individual cadence of the characters, and through the humanity she breathes into each of them, Deb Richardson-Moore reminds us that there but for the grace of God go any of us. In The Cantaloupe Thief, Deb Richardson-Moore gives the homeless names and faces and hearts and dreams and minds. Along those lines, Malachi is probably my favorite character in this book. He is so multi-dimensional and intriguing, and I would be drawn to a friendship with him if I met someone like him in real life. If this is, as I hope, the first in a series, I also hope that Malachi continues to make appearances.
Bottom Line: An extremely well-plotted mystery that will keep you guessing right until the resolution, The Cantaloupe Thief is cozy but at the same time it wont totally allow you to relax. After all, its a book about addiction and the desperate places it takes you. Its a book about loving those who can tear your heart out the most. Its about SEEING humanity our richest and our poorest (in body and spirit) and the Divine commission to love as He has loved us. But its also, yes, a murder mystery with plenty of investigative twists and turns that will have you reading well into the night. The faith element is subtle but poignant, particularly with Liam and his family, and Im interested to see how this may develop further in future books in the series.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
MoonpiePRYORAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5GREAT MYSTERY READ!July 18, 2016MoonpiePRYORAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The quirky title is the first thing that caught my eye! A criminal novel involving cantaloupes!? I had to read it and I am glad I did. Brannigan Powers grew up in Gambling, Georgia. She knows everyone, and everyone knows her. This makes her a perfect fit as a reporter for the town newspaper. She is assigned the job to report on the unsolved murder ten years ago of a wealthy octogenarian. This opens a whole can of worms not only for Brannigan but the entire town. Since a homeless person is suspected of the crime. She finds herself reconnecting with Liam, an old family friend, and pastor who runs the homeless shelter. What seems to be a simple assignment turns very complicated and dangerous, for her and others. Brannigan finds herself confronted with different people and the world they live in on a very personal level. This is especially true of the homeless.
This was a top notch mystery! Hard as I would try, I couldnt guess what was coming next or who the murderer was! I liked the way the story switched from the present to ten years previous. This gave the reader special clues into the murder. This was not at all confusing and added to the intrigue of the story. I loved the closeness of her family and the small town spirit. The detail in which the author shares the problems and suffering of the homeless was an eye-opener. She brought to life their everyday struggles, hopelessness, and how overlooked and rejected they are by society.
I cannot wait to read more of Ms. Richardson-Moores books!
I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.