Daily Reviews: Bad Girls and Back Side of a Blue Moon

One is a cozy mystery, and the other could be a romance, or it may be a mystery, too.

Bad Girls

By Laurel Heidtman

Marnie Becker is a troubled young woman with an alcoholic mother and drinking problems of her own. When her uncle and former Chicago police officer, Cal Becker, offers to pay her way through Raven University and move to Eden, Kentucky, with her, she jumps at the chance to change her life.

But on the day of their arrival, she disappears. It wouldn’t be the first time she ran away when the going got tough. Has she done so again rather than face the challenges of her new life, or has something happened to her?

Cal has hopes for a new life for himself in Eden, and when Marnie goes missing, he doesn’t know whether to be worried or angry. But when the beaten body of a young girl is found in Daniel Boone National Forest, he fears his worst nightmare has become reality—or has his worst nightmare only begun?

Amazon Review

By Jennifer N. Adams

Bad Girl’s was quite an intense thriller.

My heart went out to Marnie; a troubled teen who wanted nothing more than to get away from her alcoholic mom and simply straighten her life out. With the help of her Uncle Cal, who happens to be her rock, she goes to college, on his dime. Before she can even begin her first class, she is kidnapped by a really creepy individual and sold into the sex trafficking business.

As a mom with a daughter, it makes me think of all the ugliness lurking around to where I want to keep my baby that much closer to me.

I won’t give away too many details as it’s a must-read. It’s quite mysterious from the beginning that it’ll keep you turning the page just to find the answers.

Back Side of a Blue Moon

By Caleb Pirtle III

Times are hard along the Sabine River, and the little East Texas town of Ashland is crumbling under the weight of the Great Depression. Families are broke and hungry. For many, their last meal may well have been their last meal. Families are giving up and leaving town. Everyone knows the fate that awaits the scattered farms. No one can save Ashland. It is as isolated as the back side of a blue moon.

Into town comes Doc Bannister wearing a straw boater and a white suit. He is the miracle man. He has a homemade doodlebug machine that, he says, can find oil and make them all rich. Oil, he swears, lies beneath the blistered farmstead of Eudora Durant. She thinks Doc is a flim-flam man. The Sheriff believes he is a con artist. Both are convinced that Doc has come to town to swindle every dime he can get before hitting the road again. Ashland knows Doc may be crooked, but he has brought hope to a town that had no hope.

Eudora has everything Doc wants. She is a beautiful woman who owns cheap land. In Ashland, she is known as the scarlet woman. Whispers say she murdered her husband. No one has seen him since the night they heard a shotgun blast on her farm. The town wants oil. Doc wants Eudora. But Eudora is too independent and stubborn to fall for the charms of a silver-tongued charlatan.

She holds the fate of Ashland in her hands. Will she let Doc drill? Is there really oil lying deep beneath her sunbaked land? Can Doc find it? Or is he more interested in finding love than oil? What happens when a man with a checkered past comes face to face with a woman whose past is as mysterious as his?

Amazon Review

By Kelly Marshall

Back Side of a Blue Moon is writing at its finest. Caleb Pirtle makes you sweat in the scorching sun and choke on the dust that fills your nostrils and clogs your throat.

Ashland Texas is dying as one family after another abandon their homes and move away in hopes of finding something, anything better than the life they are leaving behind in Ashland.

Eudora Durant is dying too—not from disease, but from the slow drip, drip of a miserable marriage to a cheating, no-good, alcoholic, S.O.B. named Washburn Durant. Her days are filled with back-breaking physical labor and her nights are full of Washburn’s drunken abuse. She stays away from others in Ashland and hides the frequent bruises that mar her once beautiful face. One night, Washburn hits her one time too many, and he finds himself facing the business end of his own shotgun. He runs, but Eudora and the shotgun are faster.

Under cover of night, fast-talking, good-looking, Doc Bannister and his partner in crime, Waskom Brown sneak into Ashland. The two con men have conjured up plans to sell the locals on Doc’s doodlebug, a contraption with wires and dials that they bamboozle folks into believing can find oil on their farms.

Doc finds himself drawn to the lovely widow and sells Eudora on the idea of oil bubbling beneath the surface of her dried up fields. Others are caught up in Doc’s dream and donate what little they have to build a derrick and drill for oil.

The heat is relentless, and so is the fire burning between Doc and Eudora. She knows he’s a con man, but her heart can’t stop thinking about the dandy with the doodlebug and his silver tongue.

Back Side of a Blue Moon is a story of hope, redemption, and miracles. I’ve read several books by Caleb Pirtle III. This is his best yet.

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