by Nora McFarland

Simon & Schuster, $14.99, 294 pages

Action from cover to cover provides an entertaining view into the life and adventures of Lilly Hawkins, a “shooter” for a local television station. Sent to cover a wildfire in the California forest near where she grew up, she is quickly embroiled in a mystery following the discovery of the body of a young woman she once knew. As fire threatens the entire region, busy local authorities write off the death as an accident, but Lilly believes she was murdered, and seeks answers. Peppered with danger, mystery and romance, Hot, Shot, and Bothered is wonderful!

The delightful descriptions of the places and people are enchanting. The charming casts of characters are amusing yet serious, strong yet vulnerable and very memorable. With this second book in a trilogy, following A Bad Day’s Work, author Nora McFarland has established herself as a talented writer with a unique style. Her experience in broadcast news gives her strong background knowledge as a basis for the stories.

At the end of the book is a reading group guide, followed by a question and answer section with the author that is well worth reading. She shares her thinking in creating the characters and story. It is refreshing to find strong women and humor woven into a mystery that also offers tingling suspense and romance.

Fran Byram