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***** You’ll Never Guess Whodunit                                      Review by Rox Burkey and Charles Breakfield

Author CW Hawes knows how to open a mystery with some odd ingredients. Key characters start with Ember, and Harry Thurgood, a female reverend, and the new owner of Really Good Wood-Fired Coffee Shop. Who would have thought to start in this small Texas town with probably the most unlikely couple as your centerpiece? CW does a great job of character development through sparse but succinct dialog that has your imagination painting characters mentally like crazy.

For example, this opening sequence of the relationship between Harry and Ember sets the tone for the friendship, banter, and even a light trust, before everything turns upside down.

Ember began eating, and, after a moment, Harry said, “So why is it you come here every morning instead of going to the Silver Spoon or the Flower? Everyone’s there. You’d have the low down on what’s going on around town in five minutes flat. Wait. Don’t tell me. It’s my coffee.” He gave her a big grin. 

“I didn’t order a side of ham.” 

Harry laughed, and then became serious. “Is it the coffee?” 

Ember smiled. “In part. You brew up some pretty exotic stuff.” She paused, then continued, “To tell the truth, I feel out of place over there at the Spoon. All men. They clam up when they see me. And it’s no better at the B and B. We’re outsiders, you and me. Small towns don’t trust outsiders.” 

“No, they don’t.” 

“And they especially don’t trust women ministers.”

There is outstanding attention to detail, characters, and snappy dialogue. The interconnected situations and events make one feel like the whole town is a stage for this murder mystery. You become immersed in the intrigue, backstabbing, character assassination, adult conversations, and some murders that build fast. My biggest complaint about the story was that I couldn’t do my day job because I kept turning pages.

CW proves you can create the idyllic small town without the big-city bustle. However, you can still let loose the emotionally disturbed with their hidden psychopathic hostilities to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting town folk. The surprising twists and turns keep readers guessing about the killer to the end.

This story engages the readers from start to finish. Magnolia Bluff is a town with interesting people and stories galore. If you enjoy book one of the series, you’ll need to grab the subsequent books delivered by members of The Underground Authors. You won’t want to miss even one of these stories.

I’ve enjoyed other works by CW Hawes, but this series is sizzling hot. I highly recommend this cozy mystery because of the readable writing style, excellent character development, and zigs and zags that compel you to keep reading. Well done, Mr. Hawes; thanks for a great read

About the Author

CW Hawes is a novelist and award-winning poet. He’s most known for his Justinia Wright Private Investigator Mysteries series, set in Minneapolis, Minnesota; The Rocheport Saga, a post-apocalyptic series set in America’s Midwest; and the Pierce Mostyn Paranormal Investigations series, set wherever there be monsters.

His love of fine food, interesting places, philosophy, music, art, books, and history can be seen in each of his tales.

CW was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and made his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota for 45 years. He now lives in Katy, Texas with his wife and cat.

For more information, check out his blog:

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    2 replies to "Death Wears a Crimson Hat"

    • Jan Sikes

      What a wonderful review! This sounds like a great story. Congrats to C.W.!

      • RoxBurkey

        Jan, delighted you stopped by. This is the first book in this series and the next brings a new twist to the town of Magnolia Bluff.

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