Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in  as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.
I was happily surprised finding “A Reckoning in the Backcountry” arriving by Post; as this is one title I hadn’t remembered requesting. I tried to back-track if I had requested it but never could sort out if this was one title the publisher felt I might enjoy as I read quite a few of their Mystery authors or if I simply had forgotten one of my requests. Either way, I decided to sort out which installment this was in the sequence – finding the series has five titles previously released. Unfortunately, my local library didn’t have a copy of any of them thereby giving me the chance to seek them through inter-library loan. As I pulled together the synopsis of each of the novels, I uncovered a pattern of interest threading through three of them which seemed to speak to the greater whole of the series: A Killing at Cotton Hill (Book One); Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek (Book Three) and The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake (Book Five). I knew I wouldn’t have time to borrow all five and felt by moving in and out of the sequential order with these three I could have a proper overview of the series before moving into the sixth release “A Reckoning in the Backcountry”.
I borrowed the first novel in the Samuel Craddock series “A Killing at Cotton Hill” in trade paperback from my local library via inter-library loan through the consortium of libraries within my state. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.
on settling into a new series:
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, as I felt like this series sort of landed in my lap so to speak – the titles of the series held a certain layer of pause to contemplate as did the premises within them. I do have a hankering of reading a wicked good detective novel every so often, but I have the tendency of setting the bar quite high. I blame this on my affection for Crime Dramas I’ve watched on television – when you have Det. Bobby Goren, Jesse Stone, Special Agent Gibbs, Miss Fisher, Rizzoli and Isles plus the motley crew of other infamous detectives stateside to Canada and the UK – you garnish a particular attention to what drives a certain kind of suspenseful narrative into your heart.
As soon as I picked up the novel though, as I was starting to settle into the pace and flow of Ms Shames style of narrative – I noticed a few things. Craddock has an ease about him reminiscent of Jesse Stone but without the anguish and her narrative voice in regards to placing you wholly inside her setting had me hungering for the next Marjorie Trumaine Mystery – as the two series have a cadence of similarity for how they are easily able to be stepped inside for the first time!
The kind of series you will linger over and happily re-visit each time a new installment brings you back to centre with the characters. In essence, rather than feeling a bit out of depth to tackle a new series and becoming acquainted with everyone therein – I almost felt as if this might be a homecoming – as if I had been here previously; a credit to Ms Shames for giving us an approachable character such as Craddock to feel comfortable in this setting.
In this award-winning debut mystery novel, the chief of police of a small town is also an unreliable drunk. So when Dora Lee Parjeter is murdered, her old friend and former police chief Samuel Craddock steps in to investigate. He discovers that a lot of people may have had it in for Dora Lee—the conniving rascals on the farm next door, her estranged daughter, and her live-in grandson. And then there’s that stranger Dora Lee claimed was spying on her. As Craddock digs to find the identity of the killer, the human foibles of Jarrett Creek’s residents—their pettiness and generosity, their secret vices and true virtues—are also revealed.
Places to find the book:
Published by Seventh Street Books
on 16th July, 2013
Format: Trade Paperback
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook
The Samuel Craddock Mysteries:
Series Overview: The well-respected, retired police chief of a small Texas town is called upon to solve crimes that the current chief is unwilling or unable to solve.
An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock | Prequel | Synopsis
→ I hadn’t realised this series had a prequel when I first went to gather my ILLs from the library; therefore I missed getting the chance to read the prequel ahead of ‘Cotton Hill’.
A Killing at Cotton Hill | Book One
The Last Death of Jack Harbin | Book Two | Synopsis
Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek | Book Three | Synopsis
A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge | Book Four | Synopsis
The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake | Book Five | Synopsis
A Reckoning in the Backcountry | Book Six | Synopsis
Converse via: #SamuelCraddock + #Mysteries