Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Allen (Mystery)

Writing: 4/5 Plot: 3.5/5 Characters: 4/5

Annie McIntyre returns home to small town Garnett, Texas with her tail between her legs, waitressing at the local cafe and wondering how she ended up back here. She slides into the family business (private investigating) with her grandfather when another waitress goes missing and is eventually found dead.

For me this was more a novel than mystery. The mystery did have a number of satisfying twists and turns with a healthy hodge-podge of possible suspects, motives, and witnesses — land grabs for oil pipelines, a nasty mother-in-law, illegals who aren’t able to testify for fear of discovery, etc. However, more of the book focussed on small town life (lots of drinking and continued high schoolish behavior by people no longer in high school) and self-discovery as Annie finds out why she wants to stay in Garnet after all and what she wants to do with her life.

Decent, entertaining, read. I did not discover an interest in visiting or living in Garnett.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book was published on April 19th, 2022.