Palmetto Poison by C. Hope Clark (Carolina Slade Mystery: Book 3)

Book Cover for Palmetto Poison

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 Wheeler 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?  ⇒ Read more…

(Synopsis and image via Goodreads)

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I almost turned down Hope Clark’s offer of a copy of the third installment of the Carolina Slade Mystery Series. I have not read the first two books, and I’m always concerned it will take an extra effort to catch on to characters and their personalities, the gist of the mystery plots in the series, and what the writer is trying to convey.

Not Hope Clark! This book, Palmetto Poison, easily stands alone (although I will be reading the first two just because). Clark’s writing is gratuitous in its movement from scene to scene. Not once did the plot falter, the characters fade, the scenery confused from chapter to chapter, and the use of language was amazing. No two characters “sounded” the same thanks to Clark’s ability to give each character not only a unique personality but also a unique voice.

Set in South Carolina, Carolina Slade aka Slade takes the reader from a peanut festival to the Governor’s mansion and ends her story in a nudist camp. Slade is a savvy if reactionary character who often gets herself in a bit of trouble. Her companion, Wayne Largo, is in a similar line of work and is frustrated by Slade’s quick decisions and the ever-intervening presence of his ex-wife, Pamela, also in the business of law enforcement. Other characters are as interesting as these and continually add their own twist on the plot.

Each time I thought I had the solution to Slade’s mystery the plot took a quick turn around a corner and sent me into a dead-end. But that’s the signature of a great mystery writer–they keep us guessing. And so did Hope Clark!

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Recommendation

PG-13 for language, nudist camp, and one rather timid sex scene as well as violence if this book were a movie. Parents, decide for yourselves whether your children read this one.

Otherwise, my recommendation is to say grab Palmetto Poison, a glass of iced tea or a mint julep, some peanuts, and read from beginning to end. It will make you laugh, want to kill, afraid of the peanuts I just suggested, and cry.

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Book Details:
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books

Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Series
Published: February 10, 2014
Format: Paperback, 280 pages
ISBN: 1611944058
Source: Author

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Palmetto Poison from C. Hope Clark in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed are solely mine.

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Author C. Hope ClarkAuthor C. Hope Clark, the granddaughter of a Mississippi cotton farmer, holds a B.S. in Agriculture from Clemson University and has 25 years’ experience with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now an award-winning writer, she manages FundsforWriters.com, a weekly newsletter service she founded that reaches 50,000 writers to include university professors, professional journalists and published mystery authors. Writer’s Digest has recognized the site in its annual 101 Best Web Sites for Writers for a dozen years. Hope is married to a 30-year veteran of federal law enforcement, a Resident Agent-in-Charge, now a contract investigator. They live in South Carolina, on the banks of Lake Murray. Hope is hard at work on the next novel in her Carolina Slade Mystery Series.

Visit her at chopeclark.com.

(Bio via book cover; image via Goodreads)

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