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Friday, October 10, 2014

Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek: A Samuel Craddock Mystery By Terry Shames

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

The economy has not just hit Jarrett Creek, Texas hard, it has completely decimated it. A bad water park investment bankrupted the county, with no funds to support even its tiny sheriff’s department. Deputies are resigning but the new mayor has a plan to reappoint Samuel Craddock Sheriff’s even though he retired and recovering from knee surgery. The mayor’s meeting doesn’t go as smoothly as expected. The murder of the loudest opponent of the reappointment pretty much assures Craddock will be back on the job. With a dollar-a-year salary Craddock’s priority will be to investigate Gary Dellmore’s death. He was a less than successful executive at the bank owned by his father. Dellmore’s good looks and Lothario tendencies toward female employees point suspicion to jilted girlfriends, a wife, and numerous angry husbands. His involvement in the shady investment that destroyed the town reveals an even wider circle of those with murderous motivations.

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Craddock feels the separation from his neighbors the moment he resumes office. Everybody has something to hide or feel guilty about. Poking sleeping dogs is part of his job so Craddock questions the very man who hired him; the mayor’s daughter may have been a little too friendly with her boss. Money and love are the usual motivations behind murder. There are a plethora of suspects as Craddock must investigate a wealthy land owner and his country-singing wife, the owner of Jarrett Creek’s bank, a seemingly cheerful widow, and more than one mistress.

Author Terry Shames captures the voice of the stoic, compassionate and canny Craddock. While he respects the power of gossip, he refrains from gossip himself in spite of nosy inquiries by friends and neighbors. Craddock finds this case hits him to the core. He resents men who take their wives for granted and cheat on them, as he mourns his late wife.

Image source: Seventh St.

This novel emphasizes love, marriage and the compromises people make in order to retain one, if not both. Craddock is feeling his age. Although his knee surgery was successful, he can’t help but be aware of fragility of his health.

This third in the series will appeal to fans of both Craig Johnson and C.J. Box. Readers will find themselves unable to put down this well-crafted mystery, full of sly dialogue and smart characters. This is one of my favorite new mystery series. I continue to look forward to novels that highlight the both the goodwill and darkness that inhabits a small Texas town.

To enter to win a copy of Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Broke,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 18, 2014. U.S. residents only.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Good plotting with well drawn characters sounds like a win to me. I am adding Terry Shames to my list of authors to follow and read. I like Craddock already!

  2. A great book, and I completely agree with your assessment of Terry Shames. She's a new favorite for me, and I loved this book.

  3. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher