Taxed to the Max
Review: Corrie Caters considers her job at the local tax office a stepping stone to something bigger and better — and in her mind, almost any other job would qualify — until the current tax commissioner is found murdered in his office … and she's designated to take his place … in Taxed to the Max, a stand-alone mystery — though one that could serve as the first in a series — by Cheryl B. Dale.
Jethro McCartery had been tax commissioner for as long as anyone could remember, probably occupying the office in the century-old courthouse since the day it was built. Well, maybe not that long. Still, despite his advanced years he had no intention of retiring. Corrie's co-worker Delores Kineely actually ran the office … and "Demon Delores", as she is known to one and all, was often difficult to work with. And then there are her redneck customers, like Billy Lee Woodhallen, the meanest man in Ocosawnee County, Georgia, who make her life a living heck when they barge into the office demanding immediate service … or else. Indeed, it was Billy Lee who was threatening Jethro just the day before, that being the day before Corrie and Delores found Jethro dead. Politics being what it is, and local politics being even more so, the county needs to appoint an interim commissioner quickly and while Delores has more seniority, she has rubbed everyone who is anyone in the county the wrong way … leaving Corrie as the next best option. But if she didn't like her job before, would she like one with more authority and responsibility any better? Especially if it also puts her in the crosshairs of a killer's sight?
Taxed to the Max isn't a very demanding mystery, taking a kind of by-the-numbers approach to plot setup, development, and resolution. It's rather routine and more than a little predictable. It's also a little disappointing that Corrie makes an effort to piece together the clues to Jethro's murder — and another that follows — but never actually solves it. Where the book shines is in its small town setting and its cast of slightly quirky characters. Corrie may complain about life in Ocosawnee County, but it's clear that that's where her roots are and that's where she'll stay.
Acknowledgment: the author provided an ARC of Taxed to the Max for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Taxed to the Max: Georgia
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Taxed to the Max by Cheryl B. Dale
Publisher: Five Star
Publication Date: January 2013
List Price: $25.95