Dying Grass Moon, Andrea Jacka

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

DYING GRASS MOON is the 2nd book in the Hennessey Reed Mystery Series, following on from ONE FOR ANOTHER. Set in the early 1800's in Idaho in the USA, Hennessy Reed is a bordello madam, amateur sleuth, hidden mother, astounding woman and an absolute force to be reckoned with.

In this outing, a reclusive family has been shot dead, dumped on the outskirts of town in a murder that could be because of their religious / cult beliefs or it could simply be random. Encouraged by past success as an amateur sleuth, Reed sets off on a hunt for the murderer, right behind Raff Cooper much to his annoyance initially, until they discover another identical mass murder, and finally manage to pool resources - always with a hint of it all about to kick off simmering away.

She's a tricky person Reed - a secretive, ruthless businesswoman who cares deeply for those close to her, is as stubborn as hell, addicted to laudanum and Irish whiskey, and utterly determined. Her sidekicks include her faithful, ever-present wolfhound Raven, and Cooper - a US Marshall. Cooper's also a love interest but as you'd expect from this series, there's nothing straightforward about their relationship.

The dialogue styling and characters in this book are straight out of traditional Western's and as a female lead character, Hennessy Reed's a ripper. She's not perfect by any means, but boy is she relatable, and the situations she finds herself in fit perfectly with the personality type. The idea that not everyone here is perfect works really well, and that, the dialogue and the sense of time and place make the setting and scenarios feel very real. There's tension aplenty, and whilst the plot in this one's possibly not as strong as the first, doesn't mean there's no forward impetus for the reader.

Jacka does a good job at filling in Reed's backstory in this outing, but if the concept appeals, it's well worth reading both.


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Bordello madam and amateur sleuth Hennessey Reed doesn't go looking for trouble. But trouble has an unnerving habit of coming looking for her.

Melancholy, Idaho Territory, 1882. Hennessey Reed learns a reclusive family has been shot dead, bound in pairs, and dumped on the outskirts of town. Were they chosen at random, left as a warning, or, as members of a burgeoning religion, murdered because of their beliefs?

Encouraged by past success as an amateur sleuth, Hennessey barrels headlong into the search for the killer. Unfortunately, a laudanum addiction and penchant for Irish whiskey can be most unhelpful when hunting a murderer. So, too, strained relations with the town marshal, a cagey Pinkerton agent, and an independent wolfhound who follows her nose, but rarely instruction.

Hennessey knows present-day events are often rooted in the past. When her investigation leads her across societal boundaries and county lines, she is pitched against villains ready and willing not only to pay the ultimate price to wreak havoc and exact revenge, but also to kill whomever gets in their way ...

Review Dying Grass Moon, Andrea Jacka
Karen Chisholm
Tuesday, November 1, 2022

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