Short Line to Death

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 08/05/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Short Line to Death by Molly Flewharty is a murder mystery with a sophisticated female protagonist thrust into the middle of events and a murder investigation she never bargained for. Madeline Williams' marriage is in shambles and while waiting for the divorce process to complete, she moves to the small, peaceful village of Cross Keys, into a house she has just inherited. While she spends many hours commuting to work in Manhattan, she equally gets to ride the bus with weird characters. She is lonely and quickly develops a friendship with the bar owner where she eats some of her meals on Saturday nights, Tom Firemark. Tom is a former private investigator. The small village is rocked by the murder of a local mobster and while the investigation leads to dead ends, Madeline witnesses a murder on a bus and is embroiled in an investigation with her friend, Tom. Can they solve the murder and will life ever be the same again for her?

Cunningly plotted and filled with twists and turns, Short Line to Death is a murder mystery with a huge potential to entertain readers. The author does a great job in creating a story with locales that readers can easily imagine and characters that reflect the world they inhabit. Madeline is a richly developed protagonist and her humanity comes out neatly in this narrative. I enjoyed the way the author explores her mind, her emotional health, and the inner tensions that rock her life. Themes of murder, friendship, and sleuthing are deftly handled. The prose is gorgeous and the descriptions terrific, with scenes that are emotionally rich and focused. Molly Flewharty establishes herself as a great storyteller and entertainer in this gripping page-turner.

K.C. Finn

Short Line to Death is a short, sharp work of murder mystery fiction penned by author Molly Flewharty. Set in the quirky crossover between urban and small-town mystery, via the prominent bus service which is a main feature of the novel, this engaging tale begins when Madeline Williams seeks solace in Cross Keys, PA to escape her messy divorce. Commuting back to New York City is already the stuff of nightmares, but when she witnesses a murder on the bus itself, she becomes central to an investigation by the local chief of police, Billy West. So begins a tense and fascinating mystery, backed by compelling personal drama.

Balancing an emotional storyline of a woman reassessing her life alongside a tense and interesting small-town murder mystery is no easy feat, but author Molly Flewharty has a talent for pacing to give you just the right amount of both. Madeline is a truly relatable character with plenty of pathos and heart at the novel’s opening, her displacement from the city and newness in Cross Keys palpable on every page. So when things begin to change for her and she gets to know her new surroundings, their inhabitants and non-big-city ways, the character development is superb to engage with. The mystery itself is also unpredictable but meticulously well-plotted, giving clues that keen readers can preempt, but also some surprises along the road. Overall, Short Line to Death comes highly recommended for mystery fans seeking realistic characters, credible plotlines and a superb emotional journey for their heroines.