Plunder - Mary Anna Evans

Released March 2012

Mary Anna Evans
Poisoned Pen Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Based on the back cover blurb, I wasn't sure I'd really like Plunder. The new novel from Mary Anna Evans seemed to focus a lot on the heroine and her husband's company researching sites along the southern coast. Their jobs became difficult when an offshore rig exploded causing oil to spill out into the Gulf.

The moment I started reading, however, I become enamored with the characters.  Faye and Joe are incredibly likable, but it's the teenager they befriend, Amande, who truly won me over. That girl is a spitfire, and I certainly hope she appears in future novels.

The main plot to the story involves a law in Louisiana that states when a spouse dies without a will, the blood children of the deceased inherit his/her estate. The current spouse is able to remain in their home free of charge, but he/she doesn't gain ownership. Amande's step-grandmother is living on the houseboat her husband owned. Because he never drew up a will, Amande and her grandmother only live there for now. Eventually, ownership will transfer to Amande's absentee mother and her aunt because they are the only blood offspring from Amande's late grandfather.

When Amande learns her uncle has been murdered and that her mother is dead, it becomes apparent that someone wants the estate and isn't willing to wait for people to die off naturally before that transfer of ownership happens. After talking with a lawyer, Amande learns she is to inherit her share of her mother's estate, and that certainly doesn't please the remaining family members. When Amande's grandmother dies, the only "mother" Amande has ever known, her world seems to crumble around her. With Joe and Faye's help, Amande copes with unexpected deaths and an uncertain future.

I loved this book. Plunder encompasses old legends and a family who can't seem to keep from being greedy. In and of itself, the murder wasn't really baffling. I had the killer pegged from very early in the book. What does drive the story are the characters and the bonds they form. Amande is so incredibly enjoyable that I found myself rooting from her at the very start.

I do hope that Joe, Faye, and Amande return for many more mysteries. They're a great team and by the end of the book, they really felt like family.


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