"Deadly Options" By Terry Odell: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Rocky Mountain...Murder

Gordon Hepler is the police chief for the small community of Mapleton, Colorado. He originally took the position, not because he vied for a promotion, but it was a promise made to his late mentor. He did debate whether or not he was the right man for the job since it was in his nature to be more a frontline cop than a paper pusher. The “Chief Stuff” and playing politics is complicated, but keeping an active role in their caseload is something he doesn’t want to give up. The department may be small, but it is a close knit group with good friend and second-in-command Ed Solomon who loves his puzzles, Officer Vicky McDermott who proves more than competent in a crises, rookie Rafe Perez who has a lot to learn about crime scene manners and report protocols, and a forensics team that is led by deputy coroner Pierce Asel. Although Mapleton is usually a sleepy town, it is not devoid of its felonies to challenge the Mapleton team.

➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for more articles ⬅

Deadly Options earns 4.5/5 Spreadsheets...Entertaining!

Chief Hepler answers the phone. His wife Angie is frantic her catering partner and friend Megan Wyatt is about to be arrested. Officer Solomon enters the room and whispers, “Chief, we have a body.” Unfortunately both calls are related. The mother of the groom, a major -zilla, had complained about the bar, the food, and the DJ, and even argued with Megan. So it was disturbing when she was found draped over a sofa...dead. Hepler and Solomon didn’t find any immediate indications to suspect anything untoward, but protocol mandates their course of action: wedding party and guests questioned, alibis recorded, and the victim’s movements verified. The coroner’s report took time, but it appears to lean more toward murder than an accident, and with the witnesses and the victim’s residence outside their jurisdiction, the investigation becomes mostly long-distance. Jurisdiction issues also occur when a drunk man in Mapleton is connected to a murder in a nearby town. Police work isn’t always chasing perps and arresting killers; sometimes it is interviews, online searches, fortuitous breaks, and collaborating with other police departments.

Terry Odell has brought another well-written, more character-driven, look into the Mapleton’s police force. This tenth book is a departure from previous books and lacked some of the “murderer on the loose” intensity, but as Terry explained, “Because of the pandemic, I think, I wanted to get away from throwing danger his [Hepler’s] way (not to mention it stretches into Cabot Cove Syndrome), so Deadly Options is weighted more on the cozy side, although it's still definitely a police procedural. Gordon's conflicts are job related, but not life-threatening.” The two unrelated murders were quite fascinating mysteries, but due to jurisdiction protocols, the investigations do not directly engage the main characters and details often do not play out on the pages. I have become invested in the core set of male protagonists so reading about their everyday life and relationships offered enjoyable entertainment, and I found reading about your favorite characters in realistic encounters and seeing them as “real” people is insightful.

Odell’s story focused on Hepler himself and some of his personal and professional issues: dealing with the mayor on the budget and body cam reports, keeping a peripheral eye on the department, hunting for a house, and taking a long weekend to explore a possible out-of-state job offer. Both Hepler and Solomon are understated and introspective, and small town life, family connections, and a camaraderie among co-workers are incorporated well. There doesn’t always have to be murder and mayhem! The lab results, interviews, and insights from other detectives are incorporated offering a few clever twists, but my Sherlock meter spikes when late in the story another murder actually falls into Hepler’s lap—Fun! The victim had my maiden name. 

Check this out! My KRL review of the book set The Mapleton Mystery Novellas Books 5-7 highlights the 5/5 stars for Deadly Places, Deadly Engagement, and Deadly Assumptions. The ninth book, Deadly Fun, was also reviewed at KRL News & Reviews HERE with a 5+/5 stars! Find the complete Mapleton Mystery series HERE on Amazon. 

ALERT! Fun Crossover...Terry Odell’s five novels and one novella in the Pine Hills Police series is well worth exploring as another police thriller set in a small town in Oregon. The first book in the series, Saving Sarah, is 5/5 stars. It was fun to see the town and a few of the detectives included in this tenth book in Mapleton Mystery, Deadly Options, as Hepler considered the area as a possible new adventure.

Be a Big Terry Odell fan!

“Romance, with a twist of mystery” Terry Odell is the author of four series offering something for every fan of good writing. This ten-book Mapleton Mystery series with the three novellas grouped in an eighth book is a favorite. She also writes the nine-book Blackthorne Inc. and three-book Triple D Ranch. 

Facebook-Author Terry Odell

Website-Terry Odell

Blog-Terry’s Place

Purchase Deadly Options here.

To enter to win a copy of Deadly Options , simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "options,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 27, 2021. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win.  BE AWARE THAT SHIPPING MAY TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. 

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Refreshing to find a story that doesn't have
    bystanders helping the police to solve the
    crime. Hepler sounds like he has a good
    squad behind him. this would be a new
    series for me. thanks.

  2. Sounds interesting. Lot of -zillas out there. Count me in the drawing!

  3. Deadly Options sounds like a fun and engaging book to read.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  4. This book looks like it would keep me up reading past my bedtime!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  5. Sounds like a good one, count me in! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  6. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance.

  7. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing Deadly Options. Readers interested in finding the digital versions can find a link to most e-stores at https://books2read.com/DeadlyOptions.

  8. This book looks and sounds like a great, intriguing read. Love book cover. Would love to read and review this book and all the authors books in print format. Love books like this.
    Hope I Win


Post a Comment