- Title: Fish Out of Water
- Author: Marc Jedel
- Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
- Genre: Southern Fiction, Mystery
- Would I recommend: Absolutely! This is a delightful mystery chock-full of Southern charm.
A small-town homicide. A community swamped in secrets. Can married amateur sleuths bait and capture the killer before the truth slips away?
Elizabeth Trout had escaped her rural Arkansas hometown. Compelled to sort through her deceased grandmother’s belongings, she and her new husband Jonas make an unexpected trip down south to the family ranch. But when the property manager turns up dead, Elizabeth is rocked when her ex-boyfriend-turned-deputy arrests her for the murder.
As incriminating evidence piles up and the sheriff’s convinced he’s got the right suspect, Elizabeth and Jonas must fish for clues on their own. With a multitude of potential culprits and her husband’s contrasting personality, Elizabeth fears she may be left dangling on the hook for a crime she didn’t commit.
Can these newlyweds net the real killer before Elizabeth is jailed for murder?
Fish Out of Water is the charming first book in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series from the best-selling author of the Silicon Valley Mystery series. If you like quirky characters, clever twists and turns, and puzzling whodunits, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s humorous tale.
Elizabeth Trout left her hometown of Jenkins, Arkansas, and is now newly married to her husband Jonas. But her grandmother has died, and now she’s returned to Jenkins to help settle her deceased grandmother’s estate. Her visit starts with a bang when Duncan Fowler, local teacher and the person hired to help her grandmother manage the property, is found dead, and Elizabeth is fingered as the prime suspect.
The sheriff seems pretty convinced that Elizabeth is the guilty party, so much so that it seems like no other investigations are being carried out. Elizabeth, with some help from Jonas, her mother Mary, and her best friend Kelsey, has to do some digging on her own to try to point the investigation in the right direction, and away from her.
The story is told alternating between Elizabeth’s and Jonas’s viewpoints. The contrast in their characters is delightful, and you can see that with them, opposites attract! Elizabeth was apparently a bit of a tail-twister back in her younger days (the high school principal remembers her VERY well, and not necessarily in a positive light!), and she’s not afraid to jump headfirst into a situation without much regard for the consequences. Jonas, by contrast, is calmer, more level-headed, more likely to think things through. They work well together, and Jonas’s cool head gets them out of a sticky situation or two.
The small town of Jenkins is filled with colorful characters, and as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that more than one of those characters had reason to hate Duncan. He had a lot more going on than anyone realized, and not all of it was nice. But which of the local folks hated him enough to kill him? Jedel does a great job throwing down distractions and making you think the clues lead one way, then spinning it around and sending you down another trail entirely.
There’s a good bit of tension as the action ratchets up toward the big reveal, and while I’d figured some things out, the identity of the killer came as a surprise. I love how everything wrapped up, and I’m glad that Elizabeth and Jonas now have the opportunity to call Jenkins home for a while. I look forward to reading the rest of the series to see what shenanigans they get up to next!
If you want an entertaining mystery with small-town charm and main characters you can’t help but cheer for, pick up Fish Out of Water. It’ll make you smile!
Thank you to the author for a review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books that I don’t actually like.