I got a late start reading this book, but that's okay, because it ended up being a book that I couldn't put down. I lost sleep trying to finish it, because I couldn't decide who I thought was the bad guy!
Poaching Daisies by Carole Warburton is a mystery that takes place in Yellowstone National Park. She has some really great characters---environmentalists, gun-lovers, cute park rangers, and a villain that will surprise you. I loved how well the author used Yellowstone in the story. It was an incredible backdrop and really made it stand out from the other mysteries I've read this year.
Penny is a temporary employee who failed to get into the police academy. She is small in stature, but wants to prove her worth, and while she's clearing a trail she comes across bear attractant and a dead bear. Before she can alert anyone shots are fired and she's running for her life. But who would want to kill bears? Or her? When she makes it to the ranger station, they go back to the scene of the crime, but there's no evidence that anything she said actually happened. No one believes her and she's humiliated. Until another bear is killed soon after. Then things really start to get interesting with several more attempts on her life.
This was a really good, twisty mystery and I loved the fact that I wasn't exactly sure who was the villain until the very end. Sometimes, it's just too easy, you know? The well-developed characters with all their quirks and office-type gossip (as much of an "office" as you can have in a national park) really drew me into the community the author created and made it feel more real. Some of Aunt Iris's antics made me laugh out loud and Russ the gun-toting guy with a heart had some zingers that were so funny. But the part I loved best was the cat and mouse game because it heightened the tension and my suspicion of everyone. I was really kept guessing in this one.
Ms. Warburton is quickly becoming a favorite mystery writer of mine. There were a few editing issues, but overall the story was strong and I really enjoyed it. The vivid description in this book will make you want to visit Yellowstone to see its natural beauty, but the story itself will make you stay up late turning pages. A cool mystery in a hot park definitely started my spring season off right.
Here's the back copy:
Who is Trying to Silence Penny?
Penny Thorton's dreams of being a park ranger start to unravel her first week on the job when she finds a dead bear in Yellowstone's backcountry. Shots are fired as she runs away, but once she tells the authorities, all evidence evaporates. Penny's aunt Iris, who is bent on eradicating an invasive species of daisy from the park, puts that mission on hold when more bears are killed and she becomes entangled in the mystery. After several attempts on Penny's life, she and Iris learn to trust no one not even their friends.
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