Model Suspect

Backyard Model Mysteries, Book 1

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
302 Pages
Reviewed on 10/17/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

Model Suspect by T.K. Sheffield is part of The Backyard Model series and introduces Melanie Towers, who'd had enough of New York City. She headed back to Wisconsin and opened a craft mall, but the holiday season launched with a dead body – a social media influencer pinned beneath a door. The influencer had been poaching Melanie’s artists, which made Mel the prime suspect. The only way the real killer would be brought to justice is if Melanie did this herself. Immersing herself in village life, attending a week of holiday parties, and throwing herself into everything, Mel was determined to root out the killer and prove her innocence. Could she do it and would she find that Wisconsin was home for her now?

Model Suspect by T.K. Sheffield is a quirky Midwest cozy mystery that is a fun story with plenty of humor and action all the way. The story draws you in from the first page, and it introduces you to a series of characters that you might just recognize from your own life. They are real people, incredibly likable, and you’ll be behind the main protagonist all the way through. The kind of life described in the book, set in a small Midwest town, seemed enjoyable to me, and the descriptive style of writing made me feel as though I was there in the thick of it. This account has lots of twists and turns as we follow Mel in her bid to find the real killer, and it will have you guessing all the way through. A highly enjoyable book.

Deborah Stone

Model Suspect by T. K. Sheffield will keep you engaged as you journey to find a murderer. Kat Gold has been murdered, and somebody isn’t who they seem to be, but who? Melanie “Mel” Tower owns the Bell, Book, and Anvil, a craft mall that is the site of the murder. She used to be a model in New York and enjoys the peace and quiet of Cinnamon, Wisconsin, until now. She is involved in town events and knows everyone, and they know her. When Kat is murdered, Mel doesn’t trust the small-town police and is determined to solve it herself. There is no shortage of suspects, including Mel. Soliciting help from friends and family, she begins her investigation. Clues point to one and then another. Who killed Kat Gold and why? Was it a mistake, or was someone else the target? Mel is determined to find out. The closer she gets, the more dangerous things become. When she’s too close, she finally finds out who the murderer is. The question is, can she survive this revelation?

Model Suspect is a book that you can’t put down. T. K. Sheffield delivers a well-thought-out, suspenseful, and very entertaining story. It is a playful, dangerous, witty, and thoroughly enjoyable read. The story weaves in and out seamlessly. The characters are memorable, sometimes exaggerated, but realistic at the same time. T. K. Sheffield’s writing style drew me in immediately and held my attention to the end. The story is consistent and clever, with a dash of fun. It’s like a letter from an old friend telling you what happened to them. The word pictures painted by the author are vivid and colorful without being too cheesy; pardon the cheese reference. I couldn't put it down. I recommend this book and look forward to T. K. Sheffield’s subsequent work. Well done.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

Cinnamon was a fitting name for the tranquil small town with a zero crime rate. However, everything changed on the fateful morning when the former model Melanie Tower learned about the death of Kat Gold, a vendor in her famous craft mall. A gruesome accident on her premises was harrowing, but being deemed a murder suspect was way worse. As Melanie, aided by her friends, dove headfirst into the mystery surrounding Kat’s murder, several contradictory theories surfaced. Can she solve the mystery and clear her name? Who is trying to frighten her with thinly veiled threats? Find out in Model Suspect, the first book of the Backyard Model Mysteries by T. K. Sheffield.

I loved this cozy mystery-cum-sleuth story set in a scenic, slightly eccentric town. T. K. Sheffield presented a close-knit community where everyone seemed to know all about each other. Some characters were selfless and caring, while others were plain obnoxious, but I could not help falling in love with the townspeople with their idiosyncrasies. The week-long festivals of the "Midwinter Nights," curious games, bake-offs, and galas were charming additions that intensified the small-town flavor. Sheffield lets the mystery gradually unfold while keeping readers guessing the perp's identity. I loved how Melanie tried to solve the puzzle methodically, kept her cool even in distress, and used her unique resources as an ex-model to succeed. Apart from the sleuthing, the novel featured a satisfactory character arc for Melanie, as she learned to come out of her shell, express her wishes, and live on her own terms. Model Suspect is a promising start to this brand-new cozy mystery series.