HH Com 245 (241)

At 4 a.m. the morning after Thanksgiving, Mrs. Eberly pulls into the slushy Alti-Mart parking lot, the first of an anticipated mob seeking the “doorbuster” sales. Instead, she finds the automatic doors wide open and the store manager dead on the welcome mat.

Jim McBee has been the community Santa Claus for fifteen years--he’s the closest thing to beloved that anybody can imagine. Despite the unlocked doors and shelves full of holiday merchandise, not so much as a box of cherry cordials has been stolen from the store. The well-meaning Rockton Mills police are at a loss without a fingerprint, a footprint, a weapon, or even a vague guess at a motive.

What they have is a cluttered office full of stacked reports, and someone finally phones the only CPA firm in town to get an opinion. That someone is twenty-eight-year-old Claire Spooner, just days into taking the reigns (reins) of her father’s sinking practice. The clients are in chaos, businesses failing one by one under pressure from Alti-Mart’s “lower than low!” prices. Old friends are suddenly much less friendly and familiar storefronts have locked doors and windows painted with neon for-sale signs.

"Skimming some papers" quickly turns into much more, as Claire turns a critical eye towards the people she’s known all her life. The truth might lead to a killer, but it also might destroy a community. Or is it already too late for that?

Start with Claire. She's your focus. You can work the insane Mrs. Eberly in later.

Follow the hook format I've posted somewhere earlier. (#239)

Start over.

PS I like this idea a lot.


Anonymous said...

I would read this. It's nice to see a CPA presented as something other than a boring bean counter.

Brady Westwater said...

I ... disagree.. this is hook enough for me to read. But I would like to see how our heroine has more of a personal connection to what is going on such as what her relationship is with the potential bad guy is.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of having a forensic accountant as the heroine of a mystery. I also think that the community tensions part holds promise. I second Miss Snark--focus more on Claire for your hook.

Kat said...

I wish this was out on shelves. I'd read it, and it would have made Christmas shopping for my mother easier, too....

the author said...

I'm actually quite relieved; I haven't fully decided yet if the opening I currently have is the one I want to keep, so I was sort of hoping I wouldn't have to turn in pages after all! This is really the most valuable thing, knowing that the idea itself is sound.

And that I am lousy at using spellcheck, apparently. That I managed to misspell "rein" in the first place was depressing, that I seem to have selected the wrong replacement word is moreso. (And grammar check apparently thinks "taking the reigns" is fine. Thank you, Microsoft. *grumbles*) Note to self: cough medicine and spellcheck are not compatible creatures.

Thank you all a lot, and if anybody has further feedback, even on non-hook-related-stuff, I'm all ears.

tia nia said...

I liked it. Based on this hook I'd open the book. If I liked the writer's style, I'd buy it. I do like a well-written cozy, and a heroine CPA is a nice touch.