I read Rodney Strong’s debut novel, Troy’s Possibilities, last year and absolutely loved it! Now Strong is back with his new novel Murder in Paint. I’m a murder mystery gal at heart and I jumped at the chance to read it and see how Strong moved into a new genre.
Oliver is an aspiring writing. He spends his days researching and typing out his new, take-the-world-by-storm novel. Just kidding. . . He spends most of his time doing laundry, cleaning up after his two kids, and making sure he gets them to their various activities somewhat on time. And there’s no time for writing his book.
Oliver has been floating through life as a stay at home husband/dad. But circumstances take an unexpected turn when he picks up a hitchhiker at the cemetery.
Violet Tumbleton has been dead for a long time, but she has now returned. Someone has stolen Violet’s name and she wants it back. There’s only one problem, she’s a voice inside Oliver’s head.
Oliver and Violet team up to find who the fake Violet is. But in their discovery, they become entangled with an art thief, a murder, and there’s still more danger coming.
One of the things I love about Strong’s main characters is that they are so raw. Oliver is absolutely believable and relatable. Everything he does and thinks is what a real person would do. His life isn’t perfect, actually it’s complete chaos with two little cyclones running around. He’s the charming, stay-at-home-husband next door.
I have two elements I do want to address: the murder itself and Oliver’s wife Jennifer. The murder does not take a main role in the story until much later. I honestly forgot there was a murder in the story for a while. Jennifer’s reaction to the whole situation is unbelievable to me. There is a murder on the loose, her family (including two children) is being threatened, and the reaction is very underplayed.
The story itself is quite similar to the Stephanie Plum series: there’s action, bad guys, and enough humor that will keep you chuckling for the rest of the afternoon. It’s a great beach read or a ‘sunny afternoon’ read. And the ending had me bursting out laughing! I can’t wait to see what the next book has in store!
Murder in Paint by Rodney Strong receives 3.5 stars.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.