Wednesday, January 16

Review: Dance of the Winnebagos by Ann Charles

This is the first book in the Jackrabbit Junction Mystery Series by Ann Charles.  In reading the beginning of this book, the author Ann Charles tells us about she came up with the title first, while playing hangman with a coworker.  When her coworker asked her what it meant, Ms. Charles said she didn't know, but that it would make a great title for a book.  And she is right, it does, I was intrigued enough to start with this series instead of her other.  Additionally, Ms. Charles states that the characters in this book are related to her Deadwood Mystery characters.  Though I haven't read that series yet, I didn't feel that I missed anything by starting with this series.

We are introduced to Claire Morgan, the main female character in this book as she is fighting with her grandfather, Harley Ford's dog, Henry over a bone.  Claire is basically chaperoning her grandfather, while he is RVing with his old Army buddies at the Dancing Winnebagos RV Park in Jackrabbit Junction, Arizona to meet women that they chatted with online.  Claire's mother, Harley's daughter, has basically guilted Claire into keeping an eye on her grandfather.  The RV Park is one where Claire's grandmother and grandfather came every year to visit.  Her grandmother's ashes are even scattered underneath a cottonwood near the RV Park.  

Claire gets a job working as a handywoman around the RV Park and finds out that Ruby, the woman who owns the park is going to have to sell her old copper mines to pay off some Bank Loans.  The mining company will then strip mine the land and disturb her grandmother's resting place.  Claire embarks on a way to figure out how to help Rosy find the money without resorting to selling to the mining company.

Ruby has asked her nephew Mac, who is a geotechnician, to appraise the mines to make sure that they give her the right price.  Immediately Claire and Mac end up on opposite sides of this issue.  Watching them fight and circle around one another was great fun.  

The secondary characters in this book were all very vivid and distinctive, from Harley and his 2 Army buddies, Manny and Chester, to Ruby and her teenage daughter Jessica.  The dialogue of the old men was a hoot to read.  Almost like another supporting character, was the music that was playing in the background.  In nearly ever scene, there is a song playing on a radio or jukebox.  Adding these songs in, really helped set the scene and make it come alive for me.

This book is told from several different POVs.  There is Claire, Mac and Sophy.  We find out right away that Sophy is the bad guy of this book.  What kept it interesting is that we never knew exactly what she was going to do next.  I was often surprised about plot points.  Let's just say that the foreshadowing was very well done. *g*  Overall, I liked this book.  I will read the second book and go on to read the Deadwood Mystery books as well.  I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.

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