Monday, July 18, 2016

The Cantaloupe Thief by Deb Richardson-Moore - REIVEWED

About the Book:

Branigan Powers knows a good story when she sees one—and the ten-year-old cold case of wealthy Alberta Grambling Resnick's murder definitely makes the cut. Resnick was stabbed in her home after she let it slip that she was planning to change her will. There are plenty of suspects in the death of the matriarch of the town's founding family, but the killer has never been caught.

Now Branigan must do some serious digging to get her story. She knows the town's homeless community might have seen something; she also knows that the local cops wouldn't have thought of questioning these often-invisible people. There's a big problem, though: as Branigan starts digging, the homeless start dying. When her twin brother, a long-time addict, gets involved, the consequences of her investigation may hit a little too close to home.

My Thoughts:
The worst thing about being homeless is being looked right through.”  (p. 60)

The invisibility of the homeless proves to be both a blessing and a curse in Deb Richardson-Moore’s debut novel, The Cantaloupe Thief. This is a well-written, perfectly paced mystery that grows in both intensity and depth with every turn of the page!  I have been captured from the first page to the last by the smooth prose and the fully-formed and richly layered characters of this story.  Branigan Powers’ initial assignment was to write a feature article on the ten-year anniversary of the only un-solved murder in Grambling, Georgia’s history.  The fact that the victim was one the wealthiest and well-known matriarch’s of the town only added to the mystery of both the death and the lack of a conviction.  Someone knows the details, but as those details begin to surface, the number of mysterious deaths among Grambling’s homeless population begin to climb.

This novel contains some of the best prose I’ve read in a long time! The author captures the heart -breaking details of addiction and homelessness so clearly that your heart aches with its reality.  Just as poignant and equally heart-wrenching, are the details of the greed and privileged entitlement of the community’s elite.  These are seamlessly tied together with the lives of a family who serve the community with selflessness and sacrificial love every single day.  All of these details come together in a story that thoroughly captivates the reader!  I am so excited to know that this is the first in a series!  I have become attached to these characters on many levels!

I have to be consistent in my blogging and tell readers that this story does contain some mild language.  It is not gratuitous to the story, but rather is in keeping with the characters and situations within which it appears.  That said, this is an amazing story that I am very, very excited to recommend to everyone!

About the Author:
For 27 years, Deb Richardson-Moore was a reporter for "The Greenville (SC) News," winning three national writing awards and routine recognition from the South Carolina Press Association. She was a wife, mother of three, and that suburban cliche, a minivan-driving soccer mom. 

She then took over the religion beat at "The News" and enrolled in a nearby seminary to learn more about it. Her life was never the same. She left the newspaper and earned a master of divinity degree. Because jobs for clergywomen were scarce in her own Baptist denomination, she accepted a job as pastor of the non-denominational Triune Mercy Center, a crumbling, inner-city mission church to the homeless. 
Deb is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Erskine Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Vince, have three grown children. 

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