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Bonnie Hardy
Getaway Death
Bonnie Hardy, author
Olivia Greer's trip to the small town of Lily Rock has not been the relaxing getaway she hoped for.  She was run off the road by a tailgator.  Rescued by a handsome stranger.  A friend was found dead.  Oh, and now Olivia is the prime suspect in the murder.  She really should have stayed home.  Stranded in town as the investigation continues, Olivia must come to her defense and uncover the secrets lurking beneath Lily Rock’s surface. In this seemingly sweet burg full of quirky characters, it’s easy to get swept up in its charm. But who can she truly trust in this town full of strangers? And who seeks to bury her beneath Lily Rock?  Getaway Death is a thrilling first novel in the Lily Rock Mystery series. Want to curl up with a story filled with mystery and romance? This is the book you’re looking for! 
Hardy (author of A Doula to Die For) kicks off her Lily Rock series with this charming cozy mystery. Between jobs and fresh off of a painful breakup with her rock-star boyfriend, Olivia Greer accepts her high school friend Marla Osbourne’s invitation to stay with her in charming Lily Rock, California, a few hours from Los Angeles. From the start, the trip seems ill-fated: Olivia nearly loses her life on a hairpin mountain road (and is saved by local architect Michael Bellemare, who, it could be argued, almost pushed her car over the cliff). When she gets to Marla’s home, she finds her friend dead in her garden of anaphylactic shock—with an EpiPen that has been tossed into the bushes by the presumed murderer.

Hardy’s small mountain town seems uber charming on the surface, and the milieu and dialogue both are vividly realized, but a dark undercurrent courses beneath Olivia’s interactions with nearly all the townspeople—making it almost impossible for her to know who to trust, except for the darling Mayor Maguire, an intuitive Labradoodle, who steals every scene he’s in. Hardy deftly keeps readers guessing, with sparkling characterization and teasingly plausible possible motives: is the lecherous Dr. May the culprit? Michael, the architect who designed Marla’s house? Librarian Meadow, who Olivia overhears admitting she drugged Olivia? Or even Meadow’s daughter, with whom Olivia feels an immediate connection?

Hardy does a masterful job of drawing red herrings throughout, skillfully keeping readers uncertain until the final page is turned—with a particularly surprising twist that ties Olivia to the town and bodes well for the series to follow. A few editing mistakes distract, but readers will forgive Hardy based on the strengths of her plotting and excellent cast of characters. Fans of cozy mysteries will want to return to Lily Rock and its eccentric but mostly harmless group of residents often.

Takeaway: This cozy mystery will reel readers in for a rollicking ride.

Comparable Titles: Jana DeLeon, Mary Higgins Clark.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-