Palmetto Poison by C. Hope Clark
Palmetto Poison is the best mystery I’ve read this year.
Are peanuts capable of murder? Carolina Slade will bust this shell game.
Big money, big politics, crime, greed, and big farming—Slade, an agriculture department investigator in the steamy state of South Carolina, once again finds herself planted in a dangerous mystery.
Her assignment? Find out if there’s a sinister connection between the drug-dealing arrest of wealthy peanut farmer Lamar Sheeler and the gruesome death of Lamar’s teenage son in a car wreck. Especially since the dead teen is Governor Dick Wheeler’s nephew.
Of course, the governor’s people practically sky-write STAY AWAY FROM THE FIRST FAMILY over the Palmetto state’s capitol dome in Columbia, which doesn’t make Slade’s job easier. Couldn’t she simply back off from what appears to be a tragic and ugly—but private—family matter?
Not with hot-tempered DEA agent Pamela Largo on the case. Ex-wife to Senior Special Agent Wayne Largo, Slade’s romantic interest, Pamela’s hell-bent on using Lamar Wheeler’s situation to re-open a cold case involving an Atlanta drug lord and Wayne’s long lost sister, Kay.
Soon Slade’s shoveling crap uphill against Pamela’s obsessions, the drug lord’s vendettas, the Governor’s secrets, and the bizarre realization that those secrets involve peanuts.
Palmetto Poison in the third in The Carolina Slade Mystery Series. Lowcountry Bribe and Tidewater Murder preceded this release, and Carolina Slade has garnered a herd of serious fans.
About C. Hope Clark:
C. Hope Clark, the granddaughter of a Mississippi cotton farmer, holds a BS in Agriculture from Clemson University and has 25 years’ experience with the US Department of Agriculture.
Now an award-winning writer, she manages FundsforWriters.com, a weekly newsletter service that reaches 45,000 writers to include university professors, professional journalists, and published mystery authors.
Writer’s Digest has recognized the site in its 101 Best Websites for Writers for 13 years. Hope is married to a 30-year veteran of federal law enforcement, now a contract investigator. She lives in South Carolina, on the banks of Lake Murray, where she is ever hard at work on the next novel. She is published by Bell Bridge Books of Memphis, TN.
REVIEW BY LOUIS N. GRUBER: This novel starts off with a bang. Carolina Slade is thrust into an assignment, which goes way beyond her usual bureaucratic duties at the Department of Agriculture, an assignment which involves illegal drugs, the governor’s family, the VA hospital, and some really nasty people. This assignment is off-the record, and when Slade runs into unexpected, life-threatening complications, she finds that no one has her back. Meanwhile she is trying to raise two challenging teenagers, settle into her new home, and work things out with her love-interest, Wayne Largo. Enough about the plot–it’s complicated with many levels. You’ll just have to read the book.
Author C. Hope Clark writes an offbeat thriller with fascinating characters. The pages crackle with energy, the heroine ever struggling to balance her job, her family, and her emotions. She doesn’t like being told what to do, and repeatedly gets herself in hot water by challenging authority. She makes mistakes, any one of which could be fatal. Will Slade get out of this alive? Will she find the real bad guys before it’s too late? Will Wayne make a commitment to her, or go back to his ex? Wait and see!
This is the third book in the Carolina Slade series and in my opinion the best. Author Clark is maturing as an author, her writing becoming more complex, deeper and richer. Her characters are more lifelike, her plots more intriguing. You would never figure out where this one was going without knowing in advance, but in the end it all makes sense. Looking for an unusual thriller with a South Carolina setting and a marvelous cast of characters, this is one novel you need to get hold of. I recommend it highly.