COVER STORY by Brenda Buchanan


Brenda Buchanan
Joe Gale Mystery #2
Carina Press
September 28, 2015

Fisherman and single father Danny Boothby stands accused of murdering social worker Frank O’Rourke, and newspaper reporter Joe Gale has been dispatched to Downeast Maine to cover the trial. Joe assumes Danny’s lawyer will argue self-defense, but the longer he sits in the courtroom, the less certain he becomes that Danny did the deed. If Joe can ferret out the real killer, it’ll make for one hell of a front-page story; unfortunately for Joe, though, it seems someone in town will do anything to ensure the truth stays buried.

Equal parts courtroom thriller and small-town mystery, Brenda Buchanan’s second Joe Gale mystery is destined to win her legions of new fans. COVER STORY is a whip-smart page-turner of a read. Buchanan’s dialogue is natural, her prose is stylish and assured, and she does a marvelous job bringing the stark beauty of January in Maine to life on the page.

Buchanan tackles a complex plot with grace and aplomb. She does an admirable job explaining what takes place during a Maine murder trial without boring, confusing, or talking down to the reader, and she efficiently and effectively conveys both the legal intricacies and the emotional complexities that characterize the case at hand. She uses the frame of a small-town murder trial to brilliant effect; opening statements provide history and context, and eyewitness testimony transports readers to the scene of the crime. The proceedings themselves lend structure and narrative drive. And Buchanan knows her way around an action scene; the back third of the book features a car chase harrowing enough to make even this native Mainer think twice about taking the back roads come winter.

Katrina Niidas Holm