"Murder at the Mine" A Ghost Town Mystery By Jamie L. Adams: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book at the end of this post along with a link to purchase it.

After five years running a campground in the Ozarks, Lily Cranston returned to her hometown of Grady, California, a small picturesque town nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The Grady planning committee hired her to take on the management of Calico Rock Mine and Ghost Town, a local theme park Lily spent much of her childhood exploring with its Old West themed businesses, living history reenacters, and a real gold mine. It had been struggling too long in the red, and Lily is expected to reenergize its bottom line.

Lily’s parents died over a decade ago in a tragic accident, so she moved into the family’s farmhouse with Ava Ashton, her younger sibling and a widow. It can be a challenge living with family in one’s middle-age phase, and with Ava’s malapropism, it’s compounded by having to correct her mixing up words and phrases. The eldest sister, Pat, mother of active twin preteens, is married to the local sheriff, Jack Owens, and due to the sibling hierarchy, is not against meddling. She’s set up Lily with Cody West, a longtime family friend, widower, father of two grown children, and the county’s CSI and undersheriff. Despite differences in personalities, perspectives, and levels of interference, family is family and they always have each other’s back.

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Image Source Gemma Halliday Publishing
Murder at the Mine
Earns 5/5 Calico Bonnets … Clever Cozy Fun!

It wasn’t a blind date, and arguably not a date at all. Pat had set up dinner with her, her husband, Cody, and Lily, but it’s casual - just old friends getting together for a meal. The Park had a few shops and restaurants that stayed open after the main area closed, so where else to spend an awkward evening. It gets even more awkward when Lily witnesses a disturbing interaction between her best friend and old time photographer Lauren Dillard and one of the park’s actors William Stevens. Bill Stevens portrayed an old West editor using the Calico Rock Gazette to illustrate to guests old-time printing techniques and newspapers from the day, but he also had a reputation that could give HR a big headache. The interaction was argumentative with stomping feet, flailing arms, and hands on the hips, but Lily could only hear the threats: His “I’ll see you fired” and Hers “you’re going to mess with the wrong person.”

Then … A prank. A scream. A dead body. Did William mess with the wrong person?

Now a crime scene, closing The Park until further notice, puts many, including Lily, in jeopardy of losing their jobs, and adding Lily’s best friend as the prime suspect, she has a serious mandate to find a killer.

 Yippee Ki-Yay!

Jamie L. Adams may have used a traditional cozy mystery outline for the first book in her Ghost Town Mystery series, but the Old West/Gold Rush era themed park was unique and entertaining as it resembled places I’ve visited in my own travels. I enjoyed that Jamie didn’t waste too much time introducing the main collection of characters like many premier books, and sharing an initial conflict and discovery of the main crime early is a favorite element. The investigation takes center stage with the first victim a perfect karmic choice with his disreputable history with women, including rumors of a rocky marriage, but other issues are revealed as Lily ingratiates herself into various situations learning money in all its forms is a reasonable motive. Lily’s amateur methods are realistic adding humor and collaboration with family, friends, and sometimes law enforcement, but she runs into troublesome obstacles including a second dead body to muddy her perspective, and a final run in with a killer. Clever all the way through to a surprise and compelling conclusion. I vote for a book two!

Jamie Adams has an engaging writing style with her descriptions, witty banter, clever rationales, and an insightful narrative keeping me totally involved in the drama. The Cranston family dynamic is very entertaining, too, with each sister having busy lives of their own intersecting often, and in the three distinct personalities readers might just recognize themselves; of course, my siblings might see me as a “Pat” personality with her bossy tendencies, but I see myself more as a “Lily” - just nosy! Of course, a romantic angle is imperative for me, and with Lily and Cody both single and appearing to be right for each other, the “dance” begins. I am also a big fan of chapter titles, and Adams used popular phrases that provide an important sentiment or a little glimpse of the upcoming action. Very enjoyable …highly recommended!

 Be a Big Fan of Jamie L. Adams!

Jamie L. Adams credits Little Women by Louisa May Alcott for opening her to a world of imagination and sparking her dream to be a writer. Join her journey by following her on Facebook.

Ghost Town Mystery

Murder at the Mine (June, 2023)

Homicide at High Noon (September, 2023) Preorder Link The Park is again a popular destination and with a strong bottom line, but accusations of embezzlement and murder put Lily once again in a difficult situation that could put her in jail.

Be a Big Fan of Gemma Halliday Publishing!

Gemma Halliday Publishing (GHP Website) is a “small, boutique publisher of quality women's genre fiction.” There library of stories have “laughter, heart, and lots of clever plot twists,” with no graphic descriptions, their books perfect for eighteen-year-olds to eighty-year-olds.

Enter to win an ebook copy of Murder at the Mine by Jamie L. Adams by making a comment below about the Old West, theme parks, or personal mantras: (1) an Old West occupation you’d love to have, (2) a favorite amusement park anecdote, or (3) do you have a favorite idiom or phrase that you use or illustrates your life? or, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "ghost town,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 17, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. 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.

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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. I've done some cowboying, and that's tough work, even now. I think I'd go with being the Newspaper editor, or maybe the local assayer.

  2. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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