Friday 23 July 2021

Draw and Order (Paint & Shine Mystery #2) by Cheryl Hollon

Appalachian artist and local guide Miranda Trent opens a new murder investigation after her Paint & Shine tour group discovers the remains of a missing hiker along an ancient trail... 

For her latest excursion, Miranda is thrilled to take a close-knit group of rock climbers, the Risky Business Adventurers, up the challenging Battleship Rock Trail to paint and sample moonshine. But the outing is cut short when they discover a skeleton near the trailhead. Even more startling, the bones belong to Howard Cable, Miranda's cousin...and a former classmate of the Risky Business group.

The sheriff chalks it up to a hiking accident, but Miranda isn't convinced that Howard, an experienced woodsman, died within sight of a well-marked trail. So, with the help of Ranger Austin Morgan, Miranda sets out on her own investigation and discovers that the Risky Business Group is keeping plenty of secrets. But is one of them hiding the truth about Howard's death?  (Summary via Goodreads)

One thing that readers will love when they open up Draw and Order by Cheryl Hollon is that she provides readers with a Cast of Characters list in the beginning of the story.  This way readers can just go back to the list if they get confused or need to know who someone is.

Draw and Order is the second book in Hollon's Paint & Shine Mystery series and even though I didn't read the first book, Still Knife Painting, I fell completely in love immediately.  There is no way that you won't love main character Miranda Trent and her life.

Miranda moved from New York City where she was a struggling artist to Pine Ridge Kentucky when she inherited her uncle's farmhouse.  She started her Paint and Shine tour company where she takes groups on hikes in the local national forest and provides them with a custom meal and her uncle's signature moonshine.  She is also in the process of getting her distillery up and running so that she can start making her uncle's famous moonshine.  Helping her with the tours is her close friend, Forest Ranger Austin Morgan.

Unfortunately when Miranda takes out a group of rock climbers called the Risky Business Adventurers, they uncover skeletal remains which they later learn are human and that of Miranda's cousin, Howard Cable, who went out for a hike 5 years ago and never returned.  Miranda's Aunt Ora begs Miranda and Austin to find out who killed Howard and they cannot say no.

Miranda and Austin work together to look into Howard's past and soon learn that the Risky Business Adventurers are all keeping secrets.  The two begin to dig into the groups history and anyone else they think may have had something to do with Howard's death......

Miranda's mother, Dorothy, comes to town to help at the farmhouse and be there for her sister Ora, local handyman Ron comes to do repairs at the barn and lives in the barn while he works, Miranda is trying her hardest to get the distillery up and running, take her scheduled tours out, and in her spare time work with Austin on solving Howard's death.  To say there is a lot going on within the covers of this book is an understatement but readers will be drawn in immediately and will not want to leave !!

Review by Missi M.

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