Malice in Maggody Book Review

Malice in Maggody Book Review

Title: Malice in Maggody
Author: Joan Hess
Published: October 17, 2017, Open Road
No. of Pages: 240
Cover Price: $13.99 Paperback, $1.99 Kindle

Although the first installment in the Arly Hanks Series by Joan Hess was released in February, 1987, Malice in Maggody has been re-released as a paperback and kindle edition. Arly Hanks is the chief of police in the hillbilly town of Maggody, population 775, and is resented by many of the residents, especially the citizens who live up to the hillbilly stereotype and prefer to sidestep the law. However, when a woman is murdered outside of a hotel room where an EPA official is being held hostage, and the dead woman’s husband has escaped prison, Arly is on the hook to solve the crimes without the help of the city council (or anyone else, for that matter).

If readers have wondered what it would be like to live the lifestyle of a hillbilly, this is the book for them. While there is humor, the characters are developed well-enough that they are believable; their morals are what we would expect, and although Arly and her half-wit deputy are very likeable, the other characters are a bit suspect, which adds to the suspense, because almost everyone in the town is most likely up to unconscionable behavior, including Arly’s mother, who runs the town restaurant with her best friend. As expected, most of the politicians are less than honest (that seems to be the case no matter what kind of a town you’re in), and several of the powerful in the town are more worried about the EPA messing up their favorite fishing hole than being arrested on kidnapping charges. While there is building suspense, it is on the humorous side, and readers won’t worry too much about whether or not Arly and the other upstanding characters are actually in danger.

Maggody is an interesting town for the setting of suspense/mystery books, and while this, the first, is a bit farcical, it has led to several subsequent novels that are also fast, humorous reads with a bit of charm as far as the hillbilly lifestyle is portrayed. Not suitable for young suspense readers, due to the sexual innuendo that seems to permeate the lifestyle of some of the main characters, it is, nevertheless a fun novel. Readers who are looking for something a bit different, or are curious about just how hillbillies live (assuming the author portrays it right – it does seem to ring true), will want to pick up this book. It’d be a great summer read while on the beach, or while traveling on a plane, and will make everyone thankful for their non-hillbilly lifestyle and that they don’t live in Maggody.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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