Whisper Creek (A Logan McKenna mystery), by Valerie Davisson [Review]

Logan McKenna is an interesting character who has fascinating friends. They are always getting in some kind of trouble, usually including a corpse. This seventh installment of the series is a welcome event for fans of Ms. Davisson’s quirky world. Whisper Creek refers to the body of water near The New School, an enclave in the Oregon woods where Logan is visiting. After the staff talent show to kick off the new school semester, Monica, the step-mother of one of the students, is found shot and killed in the school’s chicken coop. The author gives us the lead-up to the murder in the first chapter, then steps back and sets the stage before the night of the murder. We don’t get to see the murder happen. The investigation afterwards is the story.

There are immediately (at least) three people who have a motive to want Monica dead (she’s not a nice person), and who had the opportunity to pull the trigger on the .22 caliber pistol that Logan and a helpful Golden Retriever find in Whisper Creek. Four, if you count the step-son, whose prints were on the gun, along with its owner, the camp cook. Unravelling the tortured histories of all the characters and how they interacted with Monica makes for a compelling narrative, leading up to the exciting conclusion and reveal in a comfortable organization.

Ms. Davisson’s talent is for filling in the gaps in the main plot with wonderful descriptions and stories about Logan and the other characters. There is always a substantial amount of food consumed in these books, so don’t go to bed hungry before reading! Even aside from the wonderful meals, the characters have real lives, emotions, and depth. It’s the characters that make the story. In a few places, the author brings in characters from prior books who don’t have much (if any) role in this story. There are a lot of characters involved, and keeping them straight can sometimes be a challenge. But, in the end you feel like you have visited a real place and met real people as you watch the plot unfold.

The complex and tangled plot here keeps you interested and guessing to the end. The writing includes rich descriptions and enough suspense to keep those pages turning. The book stands on its own without having to start the series at book #1, but there will be some references you will miss if this is your first dive into Logan McKenna’s creek. Fans of the series will find this a wonderful and welcome next chapter. I will certainly look forward to the next adventure with Logan.

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