Review: A Texas cop solves murder of a woman with a secret

Oct 24, 2022, 7:15 AM | Updated: 9:15 am

“Murder at the Jubilee Rally” by Terry Shames (Severn House)

Samuel Craddock, the amiable police chief of mythical Jarrett Creek, Texas, is good at his job, but he’s got a lot to deal with in “Murder at the Jubilee Rally,” Terry Shames’s ninth novel in this genre-bending mystery series.

For starters, the annual, week-long Jubilee Motorcycle Rally is about to open just outside of town to the delight of local shopkeepers who profit from it and to the dismay of other town folk who hate the rowdiness that comes with it.

This not the best time for Craddock to take charge of his 16-year-old great-niece Hailey, a sweet girl who’s suddenly morphed into a terror with a taste for alcohol and an age-inappropriate older boyfriend. Nevertheless, he does so because her exhausted and distressed parents need a break.

The novel opens at a contentious town meeting, with half the town demanding that motorcycles be banned for the duration of the rally and the other half griping that their neighbors are trying to put them out of business. Craddock, ever the peacemaker, settles matters by getting both sides to agree to an 8 p.m. closing time for Jarrett Creek business establishments until the rally disperses.

However, things immediately go south when Amber Johnson, a store owner who’s been her family’s bread winner since her husband was crippled in a motorcycle accident, is stabbed to death on the first evening of the rally.

So, Craddock has to deal with a devious and impetuous teen while conducting a murder investigation. Fortunately, he gets help with the former from his girlfriend and with the latter from Maria Trevino, the best investigator in his small department. With his combination of common sense and skill as a police officer, he eventually manages to bring both to a successful conclusion.

The author’s folksy prose and Jarrett Creek’s small-town ways — Craddock’s gossipy neighbor, Loretta, brings him freshly baked goodies every morning– give the novel the feel of a cozy. However, local problems ranging from drug abuse to prostitution, and the hero’s talent for conducting an investigation, give the novel the feel of a modern police procedural.

Despite a series of missteps, Craddock cracks the case when he discovers that the victim has been leading a double life that led to her death. The result is another entertaining novel in a critically acclaimed series that has been nominated for a host of prizes and won the Macavity Award.


Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Republican presidential candidates, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, talking with forme...

Associated Press

The GOP debate field was asked about Trump. But most of the stage’s attacks focused on Nikki Haley

The four Republican presidential candidates debating Wednesday night mostly targeted each other instead of Donald Trump.

4 hours ago

Law enforcement officers head into the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus after reports of an ...

Associated Press

Police say 3 dead, fourth wounded and shooter also dead in University of Nevada, Las Vegas attack

Police said a suspect was found dead Wednesday as officers responded to an active shooter and reports of multiple victims at UNLV.

6 hours ago

President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, leaves after a court appearance, July 26, 2023, in Wilming...

Associated Press

Republicans threaten contempt proceedings if Hunter Biden refuses to appear for deposition

House Republicans are threatening to hold Hunter Biden in contempt if he does not show up this month for a closed-door deposition.

8 hours ago

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., listens to a question during a news conference, March 30, 2022, in W...

Associated Press

Tuberville is ending blockade of most military nominees, clearing way for hundreds to be approved

Sen. Tommy Tuberville announced Tuesday that he's ending his blockade of hundreds of military promotions, following heavy criticism.

1 day ago

An employee works inside the Hanwha Qcells Solar plant on Oct. 16, 2023, in Dalton, Ga. On Tuesday,...

Associated Press

US job openings fall to lowest level since March 2021 as labor market cools

U.S. employers posted 8.7 million job openings in October, the fewest since March 2021, in a sign that hiring is cooling.

1 day ago

Megyn Kelly poses at The Hollywood Reporter's 25th annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast, Dec. 7,...

Associated Press

The fourth GOP debate will be a key moment for the young NewsNation cable network

By airing the fourth Republican presidential debate, NewsNation network will almost certainly reach the largest audience in its history.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

Review: A Texas cop solves murder of a woman with a secret