"Death by Theft" by Abigail Keam: Review/Giveaway

Review by Sharon Marchisello

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

Death by Theft is the latest installment in the long-running Josiah Reynolds mystery series by Abigail Keam. Josiah Reynolds, the middle-aged protagonist, is a beekeeper living in Kentucky bluegrass country with her two-hundred-pound English Mastiff, Baby. Josiah is known throughout the county for finding dead bodies and solving murder mysteries. Needless to say, she has a strained relationship with the local police detectives.

Josiah’s friend and neighbor, Lady Elsmere, is a horse breeder and activist for humane racing reforms. Lady Elsmere and their lawyer friend, Shaneika, have recently bred their best racehorses to produce a prize colt, Last Chance. It is Lady Elsmere’s dream to win the Kentucky Derby, and Last Chance shows tremendous potential.

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But when Josiah pays a visit to Lady Elsmere’s horse farm to see the promising new colt for the first time, he’s missing from his stall. To make matters worse, they find Juan Gomez, the night watchman, dead in his car. Josiah suspects a connection between the murder and the colt’s disappearance.

The prime suspect for the theft is Lady Elsmere’s neighbor and fellow horse farm owner, Logan Kilkorn. Not only would Logan like to own a future Derby winner, but he’s upset about his rival’s activism. Like many other owners, he’s afraid increased regulations will put the small farms out of business. And because he’s been accused of drugging horses before, he clearly puts winning ahead of animal welfare.

Josiah’s grown daughter, Asa, shows up to help with the case. Asa has a mysterious job that is apparently quite dangerous, and she can make her mother crazy.

Asa cozies up to Logan Kilkorn’s son, Micah, and gets invited onto the property. After drugging him, she promptly searches the premises and finds a colt locked in the cellar. Its markings match those of Last Chance, so Asa kidnaps it and returns it to Lady Elsmere’s farm.

DNA testing later proves the colt is not Last Chance and in fact, belongs to Kilkorn. He’s livid and threatens to sue, which will ruin Lady Elsmere.

It looks like all is lost, but Asa and Josiah do not give up, and eventually, they solve both mysteries.

The story is told mainly in first person, from Josiah’s viewpoint, but there are alternating chapters in close third person, from Asa’s point of view.

This was the first book I’ve read in the series, although it’s #19. I’m sure I missed out on a lot of backstory and character relationships. Both Josiah and Asa are intriguing, complex female sleuths who have been battered quite a bit after many tangles with bad guys. The author did a good job of providing enough background information for a new reader to appreciate the characters and enjoy the story as a stand-alone.

To enter to win a copy of Death by Theft, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "theft,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 11, 2023. 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. 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 goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press: Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019) as well as a nonfiction book, travel articles, and several short stories. She earned a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is active in Sisters in Crime. She lives in Peachtree City, GA, working on her next novel and doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners.
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. Sounds interesting. Love horse racing.
    thanks txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. I don't often read series in order. Count me in!

  3. I like seeing a beekeeper theme. And 19 books of it, wow!

  4. Would really like to read.

  5. I enjoy mystery series! tWarner419@aol.com

  6. I am a fan of this series and would love to win! Thanks for the chance! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com


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