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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
“The body of Dr. Payne Waterhouse lay on top of a potting table in the center of his Victorian greenhouse. Clutched in the palm of his left hand was a small piece of burlap. A pair of yellow handled pruning shears stuck in his chest as an explosion of blood spewed out covering the limits of his lower extremities and puddling on the floor into a dark red-black stain.” In Stolen Orchid by RJ Coons, the murder of a renowned botanist and volunteer at Osprey State Park sparks fear and controversy, where Ranger Blaine Sterling finds herself facing a complicated murder case and the impending destruction of the park’s orchid forest.
The short chapters, as well as the clear and straightforward narrative, give RJ Coons’s Stolen Orchid a fast-paced plot. The characters’ predicaments and their reactions are intriguing. Protagonist Blaine Sterling is a well-developed character and easy to root for. I had fun trying to guess her response to certain situations and connect the dots to the killer's identity before some informative passages arrived. Blaine's neighbor, the 'quasi protectorate' Lou Bravo, reminds me of a few of my own neighbors. On the other hand, I was ambivalent and amused at the same time about the repeated highlights of Detective Beale’s note-taking. That being said, as a new reader to this series I find this crime mystery novel a solid read. Fans of Coons’s work will be satisfied and will look forward to the next installment as the story ends with the promise of a new mystery.