If I Had a Hammer
by Teresa Trent
May 1-26, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
In 1963, Dot Morgan’s life was changed forever. She witnessed the assassination of John F Kennedy through the lens of her boxy Kodak Instamatic camera, bringing traumatic aftereffects of the brutality that happened as they stood on the parade route in Dallas.
She starts her first real secretarial job with a boss who has no sympathy for her trauma. When Dot’s only work friend has a mysterious accident at a demolition site, she digs around on her own only to find very little love between two brothers and no one hammering out justice to find a murderer.
The suspects are all around Dot and as she tries to sift through their motives, her cousin Ellie is going through PTSD on her own, losing interest in work, and her fiancé all the while quoting some of JFK’s finest speeches.
With so much change in her world, can Dot still tell the difference between good and evil?
For older readers like me, this novel was a trip down memory lane. I like how Trent firmly sets the mystery in the culture of the day by including popular television shows and hit songs. I also like how Kennedy's assassination was part of the plot as an event precipitating action. That the event had a huge impact on people is shown by Ellie making a rash decision to do Peace Corps work.
The novel is a good mystery too. I like Dot as a flawed amateur sleuth. While she can't seem to make it to work on time, she is good at getting to finally identify the villain. The villain was no surprise as Trent was not subtle in hinting at the dastardly character.
This is a fun mystery for readers who love all things 60s.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: March 2023
Number of Pages: 230
Series: The Swinging Sixties Mystery Series, Book 2 | Each is a stand alone
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Teresa is a hybrid author, self-publishing early in her career, which led her to traditional publishing with Level Best Books and Camel Press. She is the author of several short stories that have appeared in a host of anthologies. Teresa publishes the blog and podcast, Books to the Ceiling at https://teresatrent.blog where she loves to read the book excerpts of other writers and share in the writing community.
Teresa is a member of Sisters in Crime and lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and son.
Catch Up With Teresa:
Books to the Ceiling Podcast
BookBub - @TeresaTrent
Instagram - @teresatrent_cozymys
Twitter - @ttrent_cozymys
Facebook - @teresatrentmysterywriter
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(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)