This is the first book in the Cherry Tucker Mystery series by Larissa Reinhart. Don't you just love new series? A chance to meet new characters that you are going to have the opportunity to really get to know over the course of the series. Their ups and down, foibles and eccentricities, good days and bad. And in the case of a character like Cherry Tucker, you just know that you are going to be on one hell of a roller coaster ride.
The book opens with Cherry Tucker, struggling artist in a small Georgia town, headed to a funeral home to meet with the parents of local bad boy Dustin Branson. She is trying to get the commission to do his death portrait. Sounds creepy right? But that's not all. Dustin Branson was found murdered and the killer is still at large. Added to this, Dustin "had been a criminal in the making for twenty-seven years." If all this isn't bad enough, Cherry finds out that she must compete with her old high school rival Shawna Branson for the commission. To add insult to injury? Shawna wants to do a "Paintograph" of Dustin. And Cherry is just appalled by this paint by numbers masquerading as art. This leaves Cherry only 2 days to get the painting done before the viewing. The final cherry on the top of this headache sundae? Luke, her old boyfriend, is back for the funeral of his step-brother Dustin. The old boyfriend she never really got over.
This was a phenomenal book. As a small town southerner myself, I could completely relate to the trials and tribulations that Cherry is enduring. The crazy family, the past exploits she just can't live down, the rednecks and wannabe's, the "adopted" family like Uncle Will the Sheriff. I could completely commiserate and relate to Cherrilyn "Cherry" Tucker.
This book kept me laughing out loud at some of the antics Cherry got herself into. If I had to make a comparison I would call this a Southern Stephanie Plum. And since I love the Stephanie Plum series, that is a dang good recommendation, right there! (Geesh, you can almost hear my southern coming out!) I am giving this book 5 stars on Goodreads. 4 stars for the book itself and a whole 'nother star for all the great stuff the author has on Pinterest. I love when an author gives me more to explore with a favorite book. It helps to keep my interest up until the next book comes out. So seriously, ya'll go check out Ms. Reinhart's Pinterest Boards. You can get a feel yourself, of the true essence of Cherry Tucker.