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by Kathryn O'Sullivan
Minotaur Books, May 2014
242 pages
ISBN: 1250049466

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

When one member of a community theater dies, it doesn't raise any eyebrows in the Outer Banks village of Corolla; the death is put down to natural causes. But when a second member dies shortly after, it seems more than coincidence to Fire Chief Colleen McCabe, who is once again drawn into a murder investigation in this book, the second of a series.

The first death happens while McCabe and her firefighters are conducting a training session on the beach, with the local troupe acting as victims. But it turns out to be a little too real, with one member dead. The very next day, a second member of the theater company is found dead at the Whalehead Club, where the company had been holding rehearsals. McCabe happens to be in the building when the body is discovered.

Her suspicions aroused, she begins to help her friend, Sheriff Bill Dorman, investigate. While Bill has just been a platonic friend up to now, everyone in the village knows that the two have feelings for each other. Those feelings, however, may be tested when soap actress Hayley Thorpe, Bill's ex-fiancée, comes to town. Worse yet, the soap star wants to shadow McCabe for her next role in a movie.

MURDER ON THE HOOF is a light-hearted cozy. It suffers a bit from a thin plot and it doesn't make much use of the wild mustangs that are a part of North Carolina's Outer Banks (and which figured prominently in the first book). But it does have a well-rounded, engaging cast of characters, from McCabe's crotchety former third-grade teacher, Myrtle Crepe, to Pinky Salvatore, the real estate developer with a crush on McCabe. There's plenty of humor and the antics of the townspeople, fortunately, carry the book.

§ Lourdes Venard is a newspaper editor in Long Island, N.Y.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, June 2014

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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