A Dead Red Heart
Synopsis: Say your loved one died of heart disease because the organ transplant they were to receive was instead given to an inmate of the state penal system—what would you do? Write angry letters to your congressman? Hold protest marches? Or wait till the bastard was released from prison and then hunt him down and kill him.
When a lovesick, homeless veteran litters Lalla’s vintage red caddy with paper snowflakes, she figures it’s time for a showdown.
Unfortunately, someone else has the same idea leaving her with a dying man at her feet and only his strange last words, “The more there is, the less you see,” as a clue to his killer.
No one wants her involved in the investigation; certainly not the creepy Modesto Police detective who slithers across her path every chance he gets, and not the local newspaper reporter whose annoying highjinks cause her to want to set fire to the last three hairs on his head, nor Lalla’s love interest, Sheriff Caleb Stone, who can only wish he could rein in Lalla’s stubborn enthusiasm for sleuthing.
Meanwhile, nothing stays the same as Lalla watches her tight-wad widowed father becomes a born-again lady’s man, a disreputable crop-dusting competitor tries to push her out of business, and last but not least, she gets to worry that the sultry red-head in the police department may be vying for Sheriff Stone’s affections.
With nothing but the vaguest of clues to go on, Lalla determines that if nothing else, someone needs to be on the side of this misunderstood vet, and that person will be the exasperating, pushy, tenacious, Ms. Lalla Bains.
Like the other R P Dahlke mystery (Dead Red Cadillac) – (please see my review of that one), this one is just as great. Add it to your To Be Read list right away. Fun, funny, intriguing and a darned good cozy mystery and I’ll buy any or all of this author’s books right away. Jacquie (Bainbridge Island, WA, USA) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: A DEAD RED HEART (The Lalla Bains Series) (Kindle Edition)
When she finds Billy Wayne Dobson dead outside of Mr. Kim’s Chinese restaurant, Lalla Bains’ life begins a strange and dangerous side trip. A former model turned crop duster, she takes what life throws at her in stride if not always gracefully.
The characters in this book are strongly defined and very, very memorable. Lalla makes tough decisions, sometimes risking the goodwill of important people in her life, but she does what she feels is the right thing to do and garners full respect for her convictions.
The Modesto, CA setting is so well described that a fan and a cool drink is almost a requirement while reading this smoothly written mystery. When the ending arrives, you know that you’ve been on a wild ride with a spirited and feisty woman.
I recommend this book for anyone looking for a bit of grit with their mystery. Mary R. Fairchild “Mare F”
“I finished reading The Dead Red Heart, and I love Lalla Bains. Her toughness on the outside, her tenacity, but she is also very vulnerable inside.” Margie Phelps, Amazon
A Dead Red Heart –
Author R P Dahlke has combined suspenseful murder and even humor in the creation of A Dead Red Heart. I found myself changing my opinion about each characters at least once as I turned the pages. And I have to admit, I didn’t come up with the real murder until the end. This author really kept me guessing and changing my mind.
Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
A Dead Red Heart: Amusing, Fast Paced and a new favorite author, February 5, 2012
What an absolutely delightful novel this was. A Dead Red Heart is one of the books about the adventures of Eula Mae Bains, known to her family and friends as Lalla. A towering goddess of a woman, the former high profile model is now forty (oh dear Lord- forty!) and has settled in back home in Modesto, CA, running her father’s crop dusting business and working as one of the pilots. As the story opens, Lalla is in an alley, getting ready to give former Marine and now street person Billy Wayne a “Come To Jesus” lecture about the hundreds of love poems on cut out snow flakes that he left attached to her already highly visible vintage red Caddilac. When Lalla starts her tirade in the alley behind Mr. Kim’s Vietnamese restaurant, Billy Wayne is not really responsive to her verbal onslaught. That’s probably due to the scissors that are sticking out of his chest and the massive amount of blood hemorraghing from the wound. Before she knows it, she’s a suspect in his murder, even though her boyfriend, Caleb is a deputy with the police department. Lalla is not a wallflower who will sit idly waiting for the police to clear her name, especially since her reputation is a bit tarnished by a different murder and arson that kind of fell into her path a year ago. Along with an extremely amusing cast of friends, associates and the usual suspects, Lalla works to solve her problem while being harassed by an anonymous hater, mooned over by an underaged college boy, irritated by her father who starts to date her third grade teacher, and positioned to take the fall for a few other crimes. The Dead Red Heart is more typical of a Southern girl’s whodunit, even though it’s set in CA. Even the secondary characters in this novel are lively, eccentric and very well developed. The plot moves at a brisk pace and even if you can figure out the denouement before the end, you’ll want to keep reading, just for the pleasure of spending a little more time with Lalla and her cast of characters. How many others will die before she is exonerated? Will she accept Caleb’s proposal despite her two amusingly failed previous marriages? Jump into that vintage cherry red Cadillac with Lalla Bains and enjoy the ride as the mystery of A Dead Red Heart runs its course. Like me, you’ll want more from this new found friend.
By Martha Bryce, Amazon