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Hell’s Half Acre by Jackie Elliott

Title: Hell’s Half Acre (Coffin Cove #2)

Author: Jackie Elliott

Published on: 11th May 2021

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hell’s Half Acre is the second book in Coffin Cove series by Jackie Elliot.

It’s been nine months since the former mayor’s Ricky has gone missing. The local police have stopped searching as they have no clues to proceed. Sandra, Ricky’s mother, asks Andi to help find her son. Andi is still recovering from the trauma of being shot at point-blank range by a perp last year. Her injuries might have healed but she still gets nightmares. Her boss has asked her to take it slow but she’s adamant on finding the former mayor’s missing son. She’s interviewed a lot of people, including the current mayor of Coffin Cove, Jade. Jade is a young woman who’s here to break the stereotypes. But after the interview, Andi learns Jade and her mother Summer are hiding something – something to do with Ricky…

Katie Dagg is a young and enthusiastic woman. She’s moved back to Coffin Cove after a college degree and is eagerly waiting to start her career at the local museum. A real-estate agent comes over to the museum and talks to Katie about the ancient chapel and the history behind Coffin Cove’s former residents. Curious to know more, Katie, with the help of the local history association, treks to the ruins of the ancient chapel. There, she discovers the remains of a human being. Has Ricky finally turned up?

I read the first book of this series – Coffin Cove – and I was eagerly waiting for the second book. Grabbed a copy of the book from KU the day it was released and I have to say, Hell’s Half Acre is an engrossing and gripping mystery!

The story starts with Andi Silvers recovering from the traumatic incident of last year. She hardly manages to get through the day and most of her sleep is filled with nightmares. The only thing that keeps her going is her search for the former mayor’s son Ricky. Ricky was no-gooder and depended on his dad’s money. The influential father finally found a suitable work for his drug-addict son – a smoke room where Ricky could sell marijuana legally. Ricky was last seen at the smoke-room.

When a body turns up at the ancient ruins, Andi’s curiosity is piqued. As an investigative reporter, she also has to do her job in letting people know of the ‘incompetent’ local police. Andi met Inspector Vega during her last investigation and both were on friendly terms. But an article listing the shortcomings of the local police creates the rift between the two. Oh yes, we also have a possible ‘love triangle’ (Andi, Vega and Harry). I am curious to know how this works out in the next book. Psst, Vega is already jealous Andi’s spending time with Harry…

The first half of the book felt a tad slow when compared to the second half. The second half is where all the nail-biting action lies! Once again, Andi finds herself solving a cold case and this time, many residents of Coffin Cove are connected to it.

The mystery behind the murder(s) kept me guessing until the end. I never saw the twists coming. The mystery gets murkier with each chapter and the ending… unexpected and mind-blowing! Since this is the second book of the series, we have recurring characters. Though this book can be read as a standalone, I recommend you to read Coffin Cove if you haven’t already. Hepzibah’s café once again seems to be the spotlight of action. We also have Walter’s pub ‘Fat Chicken’ stealing the limelight in the second half of the story. The side stories finally add to the missing piece of the puzzle.

Excellent storytelling and fantastic character development. With each book, this series keeps getting better and better. Engrossing, riveting and mind-blowing mystery. If you are looking for a read filled with twists, you might want to give Hell’s Half Acre by Jackie Elliot a try.

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