Shoot If You Must

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
323 Pages
Reviewed on 02/06/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Pam Clark loves Peanut M&Ms and margaritas, but not at the same time. She drives a sensible SUV but pretends it's a time-traveling DeLorean. Currently, she has two men in her life--her husband and her dog. When she's not writing she loves to travel. Why? Because her hometown was tiny. A hamlet, really, with a population of 318. As you might imagine, she read a lot. Through books she learned that the world was a wide, wide place. And it beckoned. She became an English professor who loved to travel, roaming through the U.S. national parks as well as Stonehenge, Aztec ruins, Machu Picchu, the oracle at Delphi, the Hermitage and the Louvre. She was inspired to write this book because it's the kind she wanted to read. Cozies felt too comfortable and thrillers became nerve wracking. She craved something with engaging characters who were spunky, conflicted, and funny. Real people like you!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Steven Robson for Readers' Favorite

Pam Clark’s Shoot If You Must is a truly classic story of life’s immeasurable ability to surprise, carrying individuals through an incredible range of emotions towards an uncertain future. One such future belonged to teenage Heather Hillcrest, and when hers is cruelly cut short in a vicious assault, Lieutenant Stephen Raleigh is given the onerous task of finding the perpetrator of this heinous act. As the investigation unfolds, Stephen finds that long-dormant feelings within him are triggered by Professor Meghan Adams, and as their relationship develops he finds he is in a race; a race with ultimate stakes involving the lives of both Meghan and his daughter Lindsay. Will the Lieutenant win this race or will another tragedy befall his life and the community.

Shoot If You Must by Pam Clark was an extremely emotional read. The interactions between the players in this book were the most finely crafted and accurate I have experienced in a long time, as were the feelings portrayed. Not only were the characters sublime, but the entire story arc was also well planned and precisely knitted together to form a perfect reading experience. I went through all of the emotions laid bare in this tale, and couldn’t help being touched by two predominant scenes in particular; Heather’s demise and her later funeral. To me there was a touch of poignancy in Heather’s fate, being linked in a tenuous way with another teenager from the past, Nannie Crouse; two innocent girls linked through an uncertain history with dire consequences. I challenge anyone to read this book without shedding a tear. Overall, a really great book I thoroughly enjoyed.

K.C. Finn

Shoot If You Must is a work of murder mystery fiction and amusing interpersonal drama penned by author Pam Clark. Set at the junction of cozy mystery and satirical dark comedy, this murder investigation plays out over the contextual nightmare of scholars arguing about Civil War poetry. When a student ends up dead after her research draws her too close to overthrowing the dominant ideology, Professor Meg Adams takes it upon herself to look into the crime. Alongside a handsome detective whom she butts heads with frequently, Meg discovers multiple suspects from student Heather’s life who she can tap for information. What follows is a hilarious and enjoyable mystery with added chick lit humor and black comedy themes.

Meg Adams is a really enjoyable heroine who does all the things we wish we could in such dire situations. Her constant noseying into the unfolding investigation provides great humor throughout the novel, and author Pam Clark knows just how to balance it so that it never becomes too ridiculous to stop being enjoyable. The work is highly suitable for readers of all sensibilities to enjoy due to its non-graphic nature, keeping the grim aspects of murder to a minimum as we enjoy the procedure of putting each suspect under Meg’s lens of scrutiny. What results is a work of accomplished narrative charm, excellent dialogue and plenty of amusing interpersonal relationships to keep readers smiling and turning pages throughout. Overall, Shoot If You Must is a highly recommended read for cozy mystery fans everywhere.

Rabia Tanveer

Shoot If You Must by Pam Clark is the story of a professor as she tries to battle her guilt and solve a murder. Meg Adams is a literature professor and she loves her job. She explores literature every day with her students and hears their new perspectives. But when her favorite student turns up dead because of her latest research paper, Meg has guilt bubbling inside her that she cannot push away. Heather was intelligent and she found a letter that could actually change Civil War history. If the letter gets into the hands of the wrong people, it could have devastating effects. So Meg does what every sane person with an ounce of responsibility would do: she sets out to find who killed Heather. The only issue is, Lieutenant Stephen T. Raleigh is handling the case and he makes her heart race. Can she help him find who killed Heather or will she only be in the way while she gazes at him starstruck?

This was a wonderful novel. From the moment I read the blurb, I knew that I was going to love Meg and I was going to love her quirks. She is funny, witty, intelligent and exceptionally awesome. Being a former literature student, I can feel Meg's need to take that one step further than anyone else. I loved the dynamic between Meg and Lieutenant Stephen T. Raleigh; they had a relationship that made me smile at all times. They complement each other so well; when one is grumpy, the other is like a breath of fresh air. The narrative is very witty, humorous and exceptionally well-crafted, the pace is excellent and the overall atmosphere of the story was great. Shoot If You Must by Pam Clark is a brilliant novel and kept me entertained. This is perhaps one of those few novels that I will read again and again.