This character-driven mystery series features an action-addicted ex-spy and two childhood friends, a small-town civic leader and a never-been singer. They reunite in their rural Missouri hometown to overcome personal crises and to combat crime.
In Show Me the Murder (February 2013), Phoenix Smith retreats to Laycock to heal from wounds received on her last CIA mission. She expects to relax with Annalynn Carr Keyser, former school board president and small-town aristocrat. Widowed days before, Annalynn pulls Phoenix and Connie Diamante, a singer/music teacher, into the investigation of Boom Keyser’s death, supposedly at his own hand. Phoenix rescues the only witness, a Belgian Malinois called Achilles. The women apply their different talents and perspectives to investigate and to survive.
In Show Me the Deadly Deer (December 2013), Acting Sheriff Annalynn Carr Keyser recruits ex-spy Phoenix Smith and her K-9 dropout to look for a farmer reported missing. They find him armed and dead at his deer blind, a broken antler protruding from his back. Did a mad deer take revenge on the hunter, or did a wily human end the hunt? Annalynn conducts the official investigation while Phoenix uses her own methods to track the deadly deer.
In Show Me the Gold (December, 2014), ex-spy Phoenix Smith and Acting Sheriff Annalynn Carr Keyser start the night watching for vandals in a country graveyard. An emergency call from the neighboring county sends them into a fatal shootout with bank robbers. Part of the gang escapes with a half million in gold coins and, it seems, an obsession with revenge.
Phoenix and Annalynn become targets for the gang and suspects for the FBI. Phoenix responds to the threats from the outlaws and the law by exploring an escaped robber’s old hates and haunts and, with Annalynn and singer Connie Diamante, following up on the leads.
She also deals with unwelcome distractions: a figure from her past interfering in her future; Connie finagling help in directing a college production of Oklahoma;, and an abused elderly woman refusing to acknowledge her torment.
Nothing can stop Phoenix from going for the gold.
In Show Me the Ashes (March, 2016), Phoenix Smith establishes a foundation to serve crime victims. She receives a compelling request from a woman claiming that her daughter went to prison for murder and arson after giving a false confession. Phoenix agrees to an exploratory check even though the results could hurt her best friend, Acting Sheriff Annalynn Carr Keyser.
Connie Diamante, the struggling musical Jill-of-all-trades, insists on helping investigate in the hope they’ll never have to tell Annalynn. Meanwhile Annalynn enlists Phoenix and Achilles, her K-9 dropout, to pick up the trail of an increasingly vicious burglar.
When someone tries to eliminate Phoenix and Achilles, she can’t figure out the source of the danger. Working on separate cases with Connie and with Annalynn, Phoenix feels trapped in the middle. She’s forced to recognize that three heads are better than two.
In Show Me the Sinister Snowman, former CIA covert operative Phoenix Smith must play deputy again when her K-9 dropout sniffs out a unique murder weapon at the scene of a congressman’s “accidental” death. Who tried to hide a homicide? She suspects either a corrupt political insider or an enraged abusive husband. To catch the killer and prevent more murders, Phoenix goes with her friend Annalynn, an aspiring candidate, to a political gathering at the late congressman’s isolated ante-bellum mansion. A blizzard traps them there with three suspects inside and a sinister snowman outside.