Samuel Craddock, former police chief of Jarrett Creek, Texas received several calls from his friend Dora Lee Parjeter; the most recent was late the night before. She was worried that someone was watching her from a car across the road from her rural farm. Craddock told her if the person was still there the next day, to give him a call. He never heard back from her. The next day he received news that Dora Lee was found murdered.
Although Craddock was retired, he knew the current sheriff, who was also the town drunk, would not adequately investigate the case, so he decided to check out the murder site for himself. Sheriff Rodell was true to form and immediately arrested Dora Lee’s grandson without taking the time to go over the crime scene. Her grandson was an artist who lived in a small cabin behind Dora Lee’s house. Although she told him he could live in the main house, Greg felt more comfortable in the much smaller space.
The former police chief decided to look for clues as to who was spying on her and why was she killed. He slipped in the back door and looked around searching for clues. He then went out back to talk to Greg who was understandably upset over his grandmother’s death. Craddock was comforting the young man when the sheriff arrived to arrest him.
Noting that Rodell believed he had solved the murder case, Craddock conducted his own investigation that ultimately led to shocking results.
A Killing at Cotton Hill is the debut novel written by Terry Shames. In former sheriff Samuel Craddock, Shames has created a unique character who we hope is with us for the long haul. The setting, with an air of a dusty Texas town, is the perfect backdrop for this story. Shames has built a strong sense of place by filling the town with inhabitants that model most any small town in America; anyone who has lived in a place such as this will understand the dynamics.
As the story unfolds it feels like readers could chance upon any of the men and women who live there and are trying to survive in the small town. The well-plotted mystery and even pace will keep readers engaged and pages turning. A Killing at Cotton Hill is one of those stories that is easy to get lost in for hours at a time. Then, when the end comes, the reader is left longing for more. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a long line of stories from this fabulous author.
A special thank you goes to Seventh Street Books for providing us with a complimentary copy of this book. If you are interested in picking up your own copy, it is available on Amazon.com.