Murder on the Sugarland Express (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries #6) by Angie Fox
Read: 21st – 24th March 2019
Publication Date: 21st November 2017
Quote from Murder on the Sugarland Express
“Frankie appeared in black and white, but I could see through him. Mostly. He wore a 1920s-style pin-striped suit coat with matching cuffed trousers and a fat tie. Oh, and he had a bullet hole in his forehead, courtesy of the last person he annoyed while alive.
Sometimes, it wasn’t so hard to understand why it had happened.”
Overall Rating: 5/5 – Plot: 5/5 – Flow: 5/5 – Character Development: 5/5 – World Building: 5/5
So what’s this book about?
Murder on the Sugarland Express is a paranormal novel (approximately 252 pages) that is often placed in the ‘cozy mystery’ genre and is the sixth book in Ms Fox’s Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries series; currently 7 novels and 3 novellas with book 8 (The Mint Julip Murders) being released at the end of April 2019. This ghostly murder mystery series is set in modern America – Sugarland, Tennessee to be exact – and features the town’s residents, both living and deceased.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know that I don’t post spoilers or reveal plot twists in my book reviews, so here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story:
Ghost hunter Verity Long is overdue for a little R&R (rest and romance) with her boyfriend, Ellis, and a vintage train trip through the Tennessee mountains seems like just the ticket. The Sugarland Express carries history and nostalgia in every compartment, and Verity is determined to enjoy it—without ghostly interference. But the ghosts have other plans…
On a dark, desolate night nearly a century ago, the train was stranded in the mountains, and a young woman was found stabbed to death in her locked compartment. The murder was never solved, and a ghostly Belgian detective is still pursuing the case from the grave.
To Verity’s dismay, all of the ghostly suspects are back. And when history repeats itself and a new murder mirrors the old, it’s up to Verity and her friends to discover which of the passengers—dead or alive—could be behind the murders before the killer strikes again.
You don’t need to read any of the previous books in this series to enjoy Murder on the Sugarland Express as Ms Fox weaves any relevant information into this story beautifully. I would also like to confirm that, as with all of the books in this series, the murder mystery aspect in the story – both living and ghostly – is concluded by the end of the book, so no nasty cliffhangers. Woop! Woop!
I am working my way through the whole series, click the titles below to read my reviews; Southern Spirits (Book #1), The Skeleton in the Closet (Book #2), The Haunted Heist (Book #3), Deader Homes and Gardens (Book #4), Dog Gone Ghost (Novella #4.5), Sweet Tea and Spirits (Book #5) or by searching the tag #Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries series
So, what did I like about it?
I bought Murder on the Sugarland Express on Kindle and added the audio version because it was offered at a reduced rate. I alternated between reading and listening to the narration as well as reading along sometimes which is becoming my favourite way to “read” a book.
I love Angie Fox’s writing style; I find her books very easy to read and I like the way she weaves all the elements of her stories together; the mystery, the strained relationship between Verity and the rest of the townsfolk of Sugarland who are loyal to the Wydell family and, of course, the ghosts and their issues. As a narrated book, again I was impressed with Tavia Gilbert’s performance; loving the pace at which she read the story and her tonal adjustments for the dialogue. I now look out for books narrated by Ms Gilbert when browsing Audible or Amazon.
I loved that the characters, both living and dead, were complex and multifaceted, all having their own stories, agendas and personalities. As my regular followers will know, I prefer to read stories with intelligent, witty heroines who have plenty of gumption, resilience and who never give up. Verity is the epitome of a fantastic heroine for me; she is loyal, funny, has a strong sense of moral obligation to help others (dead or living) and I love that, against all the odds, she’s resilient enough to weather the storm of being with her ex-fiancé’s brother hunky Ellis Wydell all the while building her new ghost hunting business.
I really liked that there were plenty of twist, turns and red herrings to satisfy my Miss Marple tendencies and keep my little grey cells busy – I love it when authors can surprise me and this book surprised me on more than a couple of occasions. Ms Fox admits that she loves Agatha Christie novels and in my opinion setting this gripping story aboard a train is paying fitting homage to the queen of mystery.
Although I wouldn’t class Murder on the Sugarland Express as a romance novel, I enjoyed how the relationship between Verity and Ellis has continued to develop throughout this series; the pace feels very natural and realistic. Ellis is definitely one of my book-boyfriends. *swoon* The romance between ghostly side-kick Frankie and his new gal, Molly is also a sweet addition to this story and builds on their new romance from the previous book.
OK, for a “cozy” mystery, I admit that I found some scenes quite frightening, there are plenty of tense moments and I think I actually held my breath for a few pages too – scary! I usually work out the ‘who dun it’ aspect in cozy books way before the big reveal but that wasn’t the case here and I loved that! But rest assured, dear reader, it’s not all bumps, jumps and scares, there are plenty of funny, light-hearted moments too and even a few romantic scenes that’ll just melt your heart.
So, ummm, was there anything I disliked about it?
I loved every page, hence the 5 star rating.
I don’t think that you need to read any of the previous books in this series to enjoy Murder on the Sugarland Express as Ms Fox weaves any relevant information into this story beautifully. I would also like to confirm that, as with all of the books in this series, the murder mystery aspect in the story – both living and ghostly – is concluded by the end of the book, so no nasty cliffhangers. Woop! Woop!
So, basically what I’m saying is…
I really loved this story, although some of the scenes were less than cozy. It has everything that I look for in a 5 star story; I laughed, I cried, I was on the edge of my seat (I was even scared at times) in short, I was gripped! Murder, mystery, humour and a couple of cute romances what more could a girl want!
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys ‘cozy mysteries’ with a paranormal focus. We get a sneaky teaser from the next book in the series Pecan Pies and Dead Guys which I’ve already bought and is waiting patiently on my Kindle. (Keep an eye out for my review soon.)
So, has my review of MURDER ON THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS (SOUTHERN GHOST HUNTER MYSTERIES #6) encouraged you to find out more? I really hope so. Just click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself or to find out more about the author.
See MURDER ON THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS on Goodreads.com
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Before I go, I just wanted to remind you that the current Audible trial is a great way for you to try an audiobook for FREE – you could choose Murder on the Sugarland Express! As you can tell from my reviews, I’m “reading” more and more books like this and find it a relaxing but more immersive experience. If you sign up today for a month it’s easy to cancel AND any audiobooks you download are yours to keep forever, even if you cancel!