A CHRISTINE STERLING MYSTERY

THE DUNN DEAL

the dunn deal

SPRING

Rumors of dirty cops, midnight meetings on Friday the thirteenth, and a forested militia masquerading as a religious cult. These and other peculiar elements complicate the senseless murder of Deputy Sheriff Baxter Dunn, son-in-law of Christine Sterling's best friend and mentor Zora Jane Callahan.

The subject may be frightful, but amateur sleuth Christine Sterling tackles it with her characteristic blend of snoopiness and tenacity, especially after Molly, her beloved border collie, is dog napped in retaliation for Christine's intrusion into matters that are none of her business. Suspicions develop concerning which of the lawmen can be trusted, if any. Truth is challenged on every side. When a second murder jolts the tranquil community, Christine gets tagged as the prime suspect. Who will rescue Molly if Christine ends up behind bars?

The Christine Sterling Mystery books will be reissued in 2016.

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BOOK REVIEWS

"This is the first Catherine Leggitt book I have read. I'm not a huge fan of the cozy mysteries because I get frustrated with the main characters (standard citizens) becoming sleuths. I find myself wanting the character to use common logic and not go into weird and dangerous situations. That being said, I really enjoyed this book.


The book opens with the death of Christine Sterling's friend (and neighbor's son-in-law), Officer Dunn. Christine knows something more has gone on and that Office Dunn did not jump off the cliff. She starts nosing into the investigation and soon finds herself around some unsavory characters. Her life and her dog's life may soon be in jeopardy.


Although Christine is an older lady who kind of butts into a murder investigation, I found her endearing. I love that she is not perfect. She questions God and she gets annoyed when her best friend Zora Jane wants to pray at every moment. Christine seems so real. She tries to keep her faith strong but comes across very human.


I love that the author brings many aspects to life. She is able to write about Jesse's hearing loss in such an accurate way. The author did well bringing in Christian faith throughout the book. There are people in life who constantly want to pray or talk about salvation and other around them get uncomfortable but they know they should be open about faith as well. The author did a great job writing with this conflict included.

As I mention above, I am not a big fan of cozy mysteries but this one was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I will definitely look into finding more of her books."

Jenny

"Catherine creates characters we believe in. You don't need to read the first book in the series to be swept up and carried along in this book. The beginning is strong and sets up the story nicely. Suspicion builds gradually over time, just enough to pique our interest and tickle our brain. Catherine creates characters we believe in and want to root for, and we happily go along for the ride. Her word pictures are painted so vividly, we see, hear, smell and feel everything that's happening."

Janet Dimond

"I never knew it before, but I am finding out that I have an honest preference for cozy mysteries. They are fun, and amateur sleuths need to be tough, strong women with charisma and a smattering of bravery to do what they do. Christine Sterling does not disappoint. She is an honest and forthright character whose curiosity and tenacity put her in trouble. Luckily she has the charisma and faith to get her out of it. I'll be looking forward to more of her adventures."

P. Creeden

"“The Dunn Deal is like Murder, She Wrote with a Christian emphasis and a dear husband tagging along for the ride. Christine Sterling is in her "golden years," so what can she contribute to a possible murder investigation that has far more dangerous implications the deeper she gets involved? Well, apparently plenty! Although it is difficult to say how much more work she makes for the local law enforcement...

The story is told from Christine's point-of-view (first person), so it's easy to either be highly amused by her antics or to just plain be annoyed. Because of some of her interactions with others (like her husband), I'm not fully on the latter end of the spectrum, but pretty close.

For a book that highly prizes the Truth, Christine doesn't seem to be above evading it in personal matters in order to protect herself from a lecture or to get away with what she wants. One of the discussion questions at the end suggests that the author made Christine to be a flawed character whose every decision should probably not be emulated...but at the same time, there seems to be mixed messages about truth when Christine constantly makes the same mistakes while the case is ultimately solved.

Christine's husband, Jesse, comes across as wishy-washy on occasion, not quite determined enough to really work through some of these issues. However, the romance between this older couple is quite wonderful. It's fun to see the protective nature and the caring ways of a couple whose honeymoon ended many years ago. Jesse is a unique and adorable hero!

As for Molly, the pet modeled on the cover, I'm torn. She is a sweet addition to the story, but her addition sometimes comes across as forced. Perhaps in Payne and Misery (the first book in this series), Molly's role is more established, so readers who then pick up this book know the connection between pet and owner. I'm just not sure. For me, Molly's part kind of gets shuffled in later on after the groundwork has already been established, and I just didn't get to experience much of a connection. That wouldn't be quite so vital if it wasn't for the fact that Christine makes some very poor decisions (in my opinion) in order to help her dog. In a book with such a strong evangelical slant, the instances where a dog's life appears to be valued more than a person's safety bothered me.

All in all, The Dunn Deal is certainly an interesting read, with plenty of discussions to listen in on and even some action to keep the tension high. For those who enjoy a good mystery starring a more mature couple, you might want to give this a try - perhaps keeping in mind the previously mentioned issues that stood out to me."

Amber Stokes

"Another gripping, entertaining mystery by Catherine Leggitt. Well done and worth reading!"

Robert Ours