Portrait of a Dead Guy: A Cherry Tucker Mystery

Portrait of a Dead Guy: A Cherry Tucker Mystery

4.3 30
by Larissa Reinhart
     
 

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In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge -- but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.

As the

Overview

In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge -- but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.

As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she'll be lucky to survive.

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all! Portrait of a Dead Guy is the first book in the Cherry Tucker humorous mystery series. Bonus: Includes book club discussion questions.

"An entertaining mystery full of quirky characters and solid plotting. Larissa Reinhart writes with panache and flair...Highly recommended for anyone who likes their mysteries strong and their mint juleps stronger!" -- Jennie Bentley, NY Times bestselling author of Flipped Out

"Don't miss Portrait of a Dead Guy by Larissa Reinhart! Portrait is pure enjoyment, a laugh out loud mystery with some Southern romance thrown in. Five stars out of Five." -- Lynn Farris, National Mystery Review Examiner at Examiner.com

"Laugh-out-loud funny and as Southern as sweet tea and cheese grits, Larissa Reinhart's masterfully crafted whodunit, Portrait of a Dead Guy, provides high-octane action with quirky, down-home characters and a trouble-magnet heroine who'll steal readers' hearts and have them begging for the next Cherry Tucker Mystery." --Debby Giusti, author of The Captain's Mission and The Colonel's Daughter

"Larissa Reinhart's debut sparkles with wit. A fun, fast-paced read and a rollicking start to her Cherry Tucker Mystery Series. If you like your stories southern-fried with a side of romance, this book's for you!" -- Leslie Tentler, author of Midnight Caller

"I could not put down this fast-paced, action-filled and fun romp in this debut novel that had me laughing out-loud from beginning to end...Boasting southern charm and engagingly amusing banter, this was very enjoyable and a great start to what I hope is a long-running series." -- Dru Ann Love, Dru's Book Musings and The Cozy Chicks Blog

Editorial Reviews

Author - Jennie Bentley
"An entertaining mystery full of quirky characters and solid plotting. Larissa Reinhart writes with panache and flair...Highly recommended for anyone who likes their mysteries strong and their mint juleps stronger!"-- Jennie Bentley, NY Times bestselling author of Flipped Out
Examiner.com - Lynn Farris
"Don't miss Portrait of a Dead Guy by Larissa Reinhart! Portrait is pure enjoyment, a laugh out loud mystery with some Southern romance thrown in. Five stars out of Five." -- Lynn Farris, National Mystery Review Examiner at Examiner.com
Dru's Book Musings - Dru Ann Love
"I could not put down this fast-paced, action-filled and fun romp in this debut novel that had me laughing out-loud from beginning to end...Boasting southern charm and engagingly amusing banter, this was very enjoyable and a great start to what I hope is a long-running series." -- Dru Ann Love, Dru's Book Musings and The Cozy Chicks Blog
Author - Debby Giusti
"Laugh-out-loud funny and as Southern as sweet tea and cheese grits, Larissa Reinhart's masterfully crafted whodunit, Portrait of a Dead Guy, provides high-octane action with quirky, down-home characters and a trouble-magnet heroine who'll steal readers' hearts and have them begging for the next Cherry Tucker Mystery." --Debby Giusti, author of The Captain's Mission and The Colonel's Daughter
Author - Leslie Tentler
"Larissa Reinhart's debut sparkles with wit. A fun, fast-paced read and a rollicking start to her Cherry Tucker Mystery Series. If you like your stories southern-fried with a side of romance, this book's for you!" -- Leslie Tentler, author of Midnight Caller

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940015230369
Publisher:
Henery Press
Publication date:
08/24/2012
Series:
A Cherry Tucker Mystery , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
48,548
File size:
458 KB

Meet the Author

Larissa Reinhart began her writing career in second grade when she sold her first publication to her neighbor for a nickel. After moving around the Midwest, South, and Japan, she now lives in Georgia with her husband, young daughters, and Biscuit, a Cairn terrier. Although she speaks without an accent, her writing is known to have a Southern drawl. Her debut novel, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, is a 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner, a 2012 The Emily finalist, and a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award finalist.

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Portrait of a Dead Guy: A Cherry Tucker Mystery 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
lizzeee More than 1 year ago
Cute, tiny, and trim, Cherry is a dynamo of an artist. She chose to return home to Halo, Georgia after graduating from art school, but she needs a commission. After Dustin Branson, "criminal in the making" is murdered, she is determined to win the commission to paint his portrait. Instead of a portrait she expected to paint of Dustin from a photo, his step-mother wants his portrait drawn of him in his casket. Okay! The customer is always right! In order to have it done in time for the funeral, Cherry takes the keys to the mortuary to return after hours to begin her work where someone hits her on her head and then ransacks the corpse and spills her paints. Cherry's habit of speaking before she thinks keeps getting her in trouble as she tries to clear her name of any wrong doing. Her friends and family, as unique and quirky as they come, try to help her and protect her, but it's not easy! This is a fast and hilarious mystery with fascinating characters who come to life as you read.
KimHeniadis More than 1 year ago
I am a sucker for books that take place in the South, especially Georgia. If you’ve read the other reviews on this blog, you’ll know I’m a fan of cozy mysteries. So this was the perfect combo for me, and Larissa Reinhart did not disappoint. Cherry Tucker is a blast. I know quite a few beer drinking artists myself, and they really do make wonderful people. In Cherry’s case, a wonderful character. The predicaments she finds herself in are very amusing, and added lots of humor to the story. All of the characters were very well developed, and I found myself instantly rooting for some, and wanting others to be taken down a peg. Especially her high school rival and fellow “artist” (and yes, artist should be in quotes), Shawna. I also enjoy animals in cozies. I’ve been known to pick a book up just because it has a cute dog or cat on the cover. This one has a feisty goat, named Tater, and he was awesome. I hope he continues to have a role in the upcoming books in this series. With past series, I stopped reading them because I could not handle the love triangle anymore (after 10 books, you really need to pick someone). Although there is a love triangle of sorts in this book, Cherry knows that she wants Luke, even though her ex-fiance, Todd, still wants her. Although I do like Luke, I find Todd more intriguing. He seems really stupid, but every now and then you can catch his intelligence peek out. Todd’s also the drummer in his band, and it’s so easy to fall for the hot musician. I really like that Cherry isn’t wishy-washy with whom she wants to be with, but if in a future book, if she chose Todd instead, I wouldn’t be disappointed. And the very best part of this book was that I was actually surprised at who the killer was. Usually when I read a cozy mystery I know early on who did the crime. I shout out to my husband what page number I’m on when I figure it out, and if it’s before page 70, I’m especially proud of myself. I did figure out the motive quickly once the clue was presented, but this one had me guessing on the killer until the end. I highly recommend this book, and I am really looking forward to the next book in the Cherry Tucker Mystery series, Still Life In Brunswick Stew.
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First heard about this online. What a cute book! Fun, fast and bedazzled, it goes 60 in a 35 mph zone. Great characters and quirky twists lead to a satifactory outcome. Looking forward to #2
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved Ms. Reinharts debut mystery. LOL funny. I just purchased the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MysteryMommy More than 1 year ago
Cherry Tucker is a hoot! When the local bad boy turns up dead in small town Georgia and his slightly kooky family wants a "coffin portrait," Cherry hops-to hoping for a fat commission check. But she gets more than she bargained for when another victim turns up -- and then the killer starts after her. Toss in a couple of sexy guys, a few laugh out loud redneck truths, and a mischievous goat, and Larissa Reinhart has one of the most rollicking mysteries I've read in years. Well done! I can't wait to see what Cherry and Luke get themselves into next.
K_Lynn_ More than 1 year ago
I was immediately drawn to this book by its title and I was not disappointed. Larissa Reinhart paints a delightful southern mystery full of sassy wit and hometown drama. Amateur sleuth Cherry Tucker pops off the page, and while she gets herself into trouble, she’s pretty good at figuring it out, too. She kept me hooked until the very last page. Highly recommended for those in search of a new humorous mystery series.
TerriLAustin More than 1 year ago
As a small town portrait artist, Cherry Tucker works hard to make a living. So when she hears that the wealthy Branson family want a portrait of their trouble-making son, Dustin, she jumps on it. One problem--he's dead, and she has to paint a portrait of him in his coffin. Even though she paints a peaceful final picture, Dustin died with a little help, and soon, Cherry stumbles onto a mystery that might leave her as dead as the man in the coffin. I loved Reinhart's quirky characters and Cherry's relationship with her eccentric family. Add a high school rival, a sexy ex, and a hostile goat, and this humorous mystery kept me up late turning the pages. I can't wait for more Cherry Tucker.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MaggieSheWrote More than 1 year ago
Well now, that was just fun. Good mystery, plenty of humor, an unusual and engaging heroine, and my-oh-my, a love triangle. Whichever beau shall Miss Cherry choose? Seriously, I believe this book combines some of the most elegant lines I've ever read with some of the most down-home redneck cliches in the South. Which, really, pretty much sums up Southern culture. Toss in a few crazy family members, a town full of characters, a mysterious stranger, and a few latent mama issues and you've got yourself a humdinger of a story. Furthermore, I'll never look at hot wings the same way again. And that's a good thing. ;-)
nlohoft More than 1 year ago
This book was fantastic! I fell in love with all the characters and their antics! It had all the down home drama and fun with a serious topic. I couldn't wait to find out who the culprit was and was truly surprised at the outcome. I love that all my questions were answered, but I still would love to read more! I will be getting the next book in the series!
MadHatterReads More than 1 year ago
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 If there's such a thing as a chick-lit mystery, then Portrait of a Dead Guy fits right in. Cherry Tucker isn't much of a detective...just a starving artist in small-town Georgia trying to make sure that she gets paid for the commission she worked so hard to get. The more she tries to finish her painting, the deeper Cherry gets sucked into the mystery of who killed one of Halo's local sons. Larissa Reinhart's world building is so vivid that you can practically taste the sweet tea. Growing up in small Southern towns myself, the town and its inhabitants reminded me of my own childhood. It's true what they say too, when you grow up in a small town, everyone knows everything about you and your family going back multiple generations. And poor Cherry has her own past actions (she's been known to be a bit boy crazy) to live down. It doesn't help that she's a spitfire stuffed into a small packed with plenty of attitude to go around. All the characters are well developed and filled with quintessential Southern charm (which you might call slight craziness). Throw in plenty of humor, a couple of hot hunks, and more twists and turns than a greased pig and I became an instant fan. I can't wait for book #2, Still Life in Brunswick Stew! Fortunately comes out in just a couple weeks-May 21, 2013. You need to make sure that it's on your TBR too!
Judy-Ree More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the Cherry Tucker Mystery series by Larissa Reinhart. Don't you just love new series? A chance to meet new characters that you are going to have the opportunity to really get to know over the course of the series. Their ups and down, foibles and eccentricities, good days and bad. And in the case of a character like Cherry Tucker, you just know that you are going to be on one hell of a roller coaster ride. The book opens with Cherry Tucker, struggling artist in a small Georgia town, headed to a funeral home to meet with the parents of local bad boy Dustin Branson. She is trying to get the commission to do his death portrait. Sounds creepy right? But that's not all. Dustin Branson was found murdered and the killer is still at large. Added to this, Dustin "had been a criminal in the making for twenty-seven years." If all this isn't bad enough, Cherry finds out that she must compete with her old high school rival Shawna Branson for the commission. To add insult to injury? Shawna wants to do a "Paintograph" of Dustin. And Cherry is just appalled by this paint by numbers masquerading as art. This leaves Cherry only 2 days to get the painting done before the viewing. The final cherry on the top of this headache sundae? Luke, her old boyfriend, is back for the funeral of his step-brother Dustin. The old boyfriend she never really got over. This was a phenomenal book. As a small town southerner myself, I could completely relate to the trials and tribulations that Cherry is enduring. The crazy family, the past exploits she just can't live down, the rednecks and wannabe's, the "adopted" family like Uncle Will the Sheriff. I could completely commiserate and relate to Cherrilyn "Cherry" Tucker.  This book kept me laughing out loud at some of the antics Cherry got herself into. If I had to make a comparison I would call this a Southern Stephanie Plum. And since I love the Stephanie Plum series, that is a dang good recommendation, right there! (Geesh, you can almost hear my southern coming out!) I am giving this book 5 stars on Goodreads. 4 stars for the book itself and a whole 'nother star for all the great stuff the author has on Pinterest. I love when an author gives me more to explore with a favorite book. It helps to keep my interest up until the next book comes out. So seriously, ya'll go check out Ms. Reinhart's Pinterest Boards. You can get a feel yourself, of the true essence of Cherry Tucker. 
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
Portrait of a Dead Guy is funny, creepy, southern mystery. It was also enjoyable clean read that kept you guessing what would happen next. Cherry Tucker is an artist in a small town having a hard time making a living. She is small. The center of a lot of gossip that she does not help at all with her actions. When she hears that the Branson's family wants a portrait of their son for the funeral service, She heads right over to get the job. They are planning to use a member of their own family do the art. Cherry convinces them to give her a chance. She is not to fond of the murdered guy. That night she decides in the middle of the night to go to the funeral home and start the portrait. She is by herself having let herself in with a key. While she is getting ideas of how she wants to do the picture of Dustin. She is attacked and knocked on the head. The casket is off balance and her coke is spilled all over. Her paint supplies are ruined. The Sheriff their family friend Uncle Will threatens to arrest her. More rumors spread around the town about her robbing the corpse. The funeral home is not pressing charges. Dustin's stepbrother Luke just got out of the service and back home, but not to stay. He used to be her boyfriend and she is still mad at him and finds him still hot. Cherry got married in Las Vegas to Todd who won the trip to play poker. He tells one version of what happened their and Cherry is not telling all the details about it. Everyone is talking about what they did do. Todd is also the drummer in a band and plays the dumb blond who is really good at poker. Cherry wants to get the Portrait and have the family buy the painting. She is also trying to figure out who attacked her and is robbing everywhere Dustin might have hid something. Everyone tells her to stop asking questions about what Dustin was up too. Also to stop working on the portrait. Their are some funny scenes especially the comedy of errors at the funeral. I like Cherry and her family. This is small southern town with lots of interesting characters. I would like to see what Cherry gets into next time. I was given this ebook to read and asked to give honest review of it by Netgalley. Publisher: Henery Press; First edition (August 23, 2012) 280 pages ASIN: B0091X7NGQ
panzy11 More than 1 year ago
While Portrait of a Dead Guy may not be considered serious literature, it is a highly enjoyable comic mystery. It's also an insightful depiction of life in a small southern town and the characters who inhabit it -- warts and all. It's the 'warts and all' part that help make the book such a stand-out - Ms Reinhart doesn't shy away from showing the good, the bad and the ugly. While her affection for the characters is clearly evident, she gives them free rein to make bad decisions and learn from them. The mystery isn't terribly difficult to solve but it provides a fine framework for the comedy and secondary action to ensue. Whether it's the outrageous lengths Cherry is willing to go to ensure her success as an artist, or the hilarious in-fighting that explodes at the murdered man's funeral, everything is fair game. All in all, a fresh and sharp debut - I'll be looking for more of Cherry and and company's next adventure.(less)
The-Broke-Book-Bank More than 1 year ago
*I won this as a First Reads Giveaway.* I really liked this book. It was so fun and enjoyable. I finished it in two settings but if I had the time I would've finished it in one. I didn't want to put it down. I was guessing until the end whodunit and that's so important for me. I hate when I can see who did it early on, especially with a bumbling stupid cast set around to make the story work. That's so not the case here. The miss steps and misleads are understandable and the reader makes them along with Cherry. The characters all popped out and felt real. Cherry is are strong lead woman who has clear flaws but she's loveable and trying to do the right thing. Her family isn't perfect but they are family. They annoy each other but band together when there's trouble. There is the love triangle thing going on which has become a staple in these kind of books. It often becomes annoying with the indecisive back and forth. However, Cherry clearly has her mind about her and knows what she wants. She just had a bit of trouble getting her backbone to work with her. She's feminine but not the stereotypical princess. She's country but not the stereotypical redneck. She's southern but not the stereotypical Southern bell nor the Southern Cross flag loving moron. She's real and I love her for it. She's an artist and it colors how she views thing and the author loving helped paint it. Honestly, Cherry is one of my new favorite characters, for all of these reasons and more. I like the setting. I know how things get twisted in small towns, how everyone knows everything about everyone while pretending not to and the futility of fighting against the flow. Now this small town setting is common but is often idealized. I love the realistic portrayal here. The town and it's people are still engaging, still lovable (or hateable) and really gives you a good idea how small towns really work. It's still understandable why people live there and love it, but there are no illusions used to get this across, it's reality is enough. It was also a nice break to get a book with working poor people as the cast. I mean really, in a small town there's the one person who owns everything due to inheriting and the rest of us are struggling to get along usually. That was the case in my small town and that's the case here. It's nice to get an honest look and portrayal of people like this, like me. It's refreshing and I loved it. Even city slickers will love it, it's not too above their understanding. ;-) /joke This book is really beautifully written. The author has a wonderful voice, that lends itself so well to her characters. This sentence "The object of my desire, Todd's functioning vehicle, jerked to a stop at the curb while the object of my ire bounded up the slope to my porch." is such a great example. I love it. There's other examples but you should experience it for yourself. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book. My only real hesitation I feel is due to being lead on and disappointed with the continuation of other series. *cough Stephanie Plum cough* However, this is a stunning debut. It will draw you in and you'll fall in love with this book. If you're feeling disappointed and disenchanted, Portrait of a Dead Guy will renew your love for this genre.
MStefanides More than 1 year ago
In Portrait of a Dead Guy, Larissa Reinhart introduces Cherry Tucker in a good old-fashioned who-dun-it. There are traces of sweet romance and a bit of suspense, but at its heart, Portrait is about finding out who the murderer is. Cherry Tucker is a formally trained starving artist who chooses to move back to her rural Georgia roots rather than join some swanky artist colony in someplace “cool”. Cherry ekes out a living by combining chasing commissions for portraits with visiting her grandfather and sister at mealtimes. When Cherry hears that the richest family in town wants a portrait of their murdered son in his coffin, Cherry can’t help herself from going after the job aggressively. All Cherry has in mind is to paint the portrait and collect the sizable commission. But when she is conked on the head late at night alone in the funeral home with the deceased, Cherry makes it her mission to track down her attacker. She cranks up her efforts when the roommate of one of her friends is the next one to die. Think Jessica Fletcher transformed into a twenty-something, somewhat flighty Southern girl. Forgive me the bad pun, but Reinhart paints a portrait of Cherry in words as well as Cherry paints in, well, paint. Bless Cherry’s heart, she is a fine mess. As sweet as her name, yes, but sweetly flawed. She simply can’t choose between two lovers; she goes back and forth between Luke and Todd as quickly as the clock ticks away seconds. Although in her defense, I’d find it hard to pick one of these fellows over the other myself. Cherry dukes it out verbally with the cousin of the deceased, who is an artist in her own right. Cherry is quite open about what she thinks about Shawna’s so-called artistic talent, not hesitating to call her out in public or private about the tackiness of what Shawna calls “paintographs.” I couldn’t always decide whether to cheer Cherry on or scold her! Reinhart creates a great supporting cast of characters for Cherry, starting with her family—grandfather, sister, and brother—moving on to her boyfriends/one-time Vegas-wed husband in the vein of Brittany Spears’ first “marriage”, the crazy family of the fella in the coffin, and a smarmy car salesman. It might sound like a cliché—smarmy car salesman—but Reinhart pulls it off with the right amount of smarminess and very little cliché. The pacing is fast, with enough twists and turns to keep me interested, but steadily enough that I did figure out the “who” of the who-dun-it myself, but not so soon that I lost interest in staying with Cherry until she finally figures it out, too. Fans of this book will be happy to know that this is just the first of Cherry’s many adventures to come. I’ll be waiting to see what kind of bad guy Cherry takes down next.