Monday, January 4, 2016

Death Goes To The County Fair by Annette Drake | Blog Tour with Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

The Blurb

Joni Harte knew her first job out of college would be tough, but she didn’t expect it to be murder.

With the ink mostly dry on her journalism degree, Joni accepts the position of news reporter and photographer for The Ogallala Gazette. She’s tasked with chronicling all of the goings-on of the quirky characters who inhabit this small Missouri town.

While investigating the identity of the first murder victim, Joni makes an enemy of the local sheriff. Worse, she catches the attention of a violent stalker who promises to cure Joni of her curiosity.

As the Ogallala County Fair comes to an end, Joni must uncover the truth before she comes to hers.

Death Goes To The County Fair by Annette Drake
Series: An Ogallala Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Baskethound Books
Publication Date: October 15, 2015
Print Length: 100 pages
e-Book File Size: 635 KB
ASIN: B014I7MH56
Amazon | Baskethound BooksGoodreads

Click here for a sneak peek! You can read Chapter 1 of 
Death Goes to the County Fair on Author Annette Drake's website.

The Review

I just read a really good book, y'all — Death Goes To The County Fair by Annette Drake. Let me tell you a little about this cozy mystery.

I went against conventional wisdom in choosing Death Goes To The County Fair to review for my blog, because I judged this book by its cover. I first heard about Death Goes to the County Fair during its Cover Release, and thought that it must be a good read to have such a good cover. 

Author Annette Drake did not disappoint me. Following the principle of writing what you know, she has turned some bits and pieces of her past into a very entertaining cozy mystery. (You can read more about her past in her Guest Post, which follows this review.) The world-building is well done, the plot is fast-paced, and the characters are real and likable.

I like how the details about Joni's family are revealed little by little. I especially like how the townspeople show their support for Joni after she [sorry, spoiler]. 

I recommend Death Goes To The County Fair to all fans of cozy mysteries. I think it will especially appeal to those fans who live in small towns, work in small-town newspapers, and/or go to county fairs. 

I really enjoyed Death Goes To The County Fair by Annette Drake, and grant it Four Kitties!

Four out of five kitties
 Note:  I received a complimentary copy of Death Goes To The County Fair in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Click here, to read other reviews and Author Guest Posts, plus Author Interviews! 

The Guest Post

Writing my first cozy mystery, Death Goes to the County Fair, provided a much-needed diversion for me. I had just lost a family member to cancer when I sat down to write the sequel to my debut novel, Celebration House. The end of my first book haunted me. I couldn’t write about a character who was grieving. I had grief aplenty in my life.

Instead, I started drafting my mystery novel about a young photojournalist who started her career at a small weekly newspaper. That had been my life in the late 1980s, when I worked at the Pleasant Hill Times in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, so I knew it well. I plunked my character down in the fictional town of Ogallala, Missouri. I liked the name of that town: Ogallala. It was fun to say.

Then, like a would-be builder, I designed the town. I knew it needed one main street running down it. There must be an old train depot, and the usual merchants found in small Midwest towns: a local diner where old men gossiped, a mercantile, a bookstore, a yarn shop and an antique mall. I opened wide the pages of my sketch book and told myself, “Have fun!”

To me, cozy mysteries are more about the personalities than the science of crime solving, so I skimped on the fingerprint analysis and spent my time developing characters. I started with my protagonist: a 22-year-old woman who was desperate to step out of the shadow of her ultra-successful sister and her family’s newspaper legacy. She needed a boss, so I imagined a cranky chain-smoking newspaper publisher. I wanted supportive friends for my main character, so I revisited my memories of when I worked at The Pleasant Hill Times, and I wrote Nan and Ed onto the pages.

To keep watch over it all, I wanted a sheriff fresh from the streets of Mayberry. So was born Sheriff Cletus Butane  a 300-pound by-the-book lawman who saved his tenderness for his wife and bore the grief of losing his daughter to drug abuse. Writing this post, I realize now that Cletus and I had this is common: we knew grief.

I flushed out my roster of characters with a crotchety septuagenarian to serve as the medical examiner. My intent all along was to entertain my readers, so I played and played with words until I came up with the name of my red herring character: Oops! No spoilers here.

Writing Death Goes to the County Fair didn’t free me from my grief, but it lightened it. On a really good day, visiting the imaginary world where the streets were named after flowers and knitters flocked to the Knit This, Knot That yarn shop dispelled my sorrow.

I don’t know if my cozy mystery will be a bestseller. Likely not. The book debuted in October and has sold fewer than 100 copies. It has yet to receive its first Amazon review.

But if authors are taught to write a book that delights and amuses them, then Death Goes to the County Fair is a huge success indeed.

Welcome to Ogallala!

The Author

About Annette Drake

Annette Drake is a multi-genre author whose work is character-driven and celebrates the law of unintended consequences.

Death Goes to the County Fair kicks off the premier of her cozy-mystery series set in Ogallala, Missouri. The book premiered on October 15th.

Her romance titles include A Beautiful Day in Alaska, A Year with Geno, and Celebration House.

Annette’s middle-grade novel, Bone Girl, was published in March of 2014 by Baskethound Books and is available in ebook, print and audiobook.

Annette makes her home in Washington State. A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, she loves ferry rides, basset hounds and bakeries. She does not camp. If she can help it.

Find Annette on the web at

The Giveaway

Annette will award a $10 Amazon Gift Card
to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

If you enjoyed this post, please show your appreciation by sharing it.