It’s interesting that Kathy Lynn Hall name checks Janet Evanovich twice in her novel Red Mojo Mama because their voices have the same casual, cosy, comic vibe. Plotwise, there are big differences. Hall, as an indie writer, does not have to adhere to any kind of genre restrictions (I’m sure Evanovich calls her own shots too these days) so she is all over the place: romance, mystery, domestic drama, and even a dash of fantasy spiritualism.
I liked it! She kept me engaged with her many layers of story. Red, the main character, is a hoot and a half. She’s widowed and sad, but still manages the odd wisecrack. Then there’s Mac, the ghost of her dead husband, who follows her to a tiny town in northern California and the trailer park she inherited from an aunt who died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. There Red meets her neighbors, a congenial bunch, especially one special guy she can’t help being attracted to despite her still unresolved feelings for Mac.
The mystery angle concerns corruption at the top. Certain of the town’s wealthy citizens are turning a charming old gold rush town into yet another playground for the wealthy. And they don’t mind playing dirty to get what they want. Shady dealings aside, would they resort to murder? Red lands a job as a reporter, a good reason to stick her nose in at town counsel meetings.
What happens as a result of her inquiring mind? Will Red be able to help the townsfolk who’ve been duped? Will she find out if her aunt was murdered? Will she take the millions offered for her trailer park or stay put in this new-found happy place? Hall has a hell of a good time answering these burning questions, and readers will too.