Murder at the Jubilee Rally

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Pub Date 04 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 30 Sep 2022

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Chief of Police Samuel Craddock faces a race against time to solve a perplexing murder at a motorcycle rally before the event comes to an end.

"Suggest for fans of mysteries featuring small-town police forces, including novels by Claire Booth, Steven F. Havill, and Tricia Fields" - Library Journal Starred Review

With the annual Jubilee Motorcycle Rally approaching, Jarrett Creek residents are divided. Some despise the rowdy, unsavory behaviour of the bikers, but they bring welcome money to local merchants. What's to be done?

At a town meeting to find a solution, temperatures flare as Amber Johnson and Lily Deverell - family women on opposing sides of the debate - throw accusations at each other. Attempting to appease both camps, Chief of Police Samuel Craddock enacts a curfew to dissuade late-night revellers.

Nevertheless, trouble strikes. With the rally in full swing, Amber is found murdered at the event. Why did Amber leave her home that night? What secrets was she hiding from her family?

Craddock quickly faces more challenges as he offers to take in his rebellious teenaged niece, Hailey, whose parents are at their wits' end. He soon understands their pain. Can Craddock keep Hailey under control, or will dealing with her allow a murderer to escape justice?

Chief of Police Samuel Craddock faces a race against time to solve a perplexing murder at a motorcycle rally before the event comes to an end.

"Suggest for fans of mysteries featuring small-town...

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Featured Reviews

I love Terry Shames' Samuel Craddock Mysteries and have read all of them, so I was delighted to find the the ninth in the series and the first new entry since 2019. What makes them special is that Samuel, a small-town Chief of Police who was called out of retirement a while back, narrates his stories in the present tense, giving the reader an in-depth perspective on his step-by-step analysis and investigation procedures, his interactions with the people in his life, and--most interesting of all--his opinions and emotions as he carries out with aplomb what can be a truly difficult job.

This time around, there is a week-long motorcycle rally on the outskirts of Jarrett Creek, Texas,, and local entrepreneurs are in conflict as as to whether to close their businesses for the duration so the sometimes-rowdy cyclists aren't tempted to come into town. Samuel is called upon to come up with a compromise, but that doesn't prevent the murder of one of the female business owners early in the event. It's a difficult investigation because there are so many possible suspects, and there are secrets in the deceased's life that add further complications. At the same time, Samuel's teenage niece is acting out and her harried mother, brings her to Samuel for a visit, in the hopes of turning her behavior around.

If you're looking for some relief from violent, intense thrillers, you will surely find it in the low-key, gripping stories that only an expert lawman such as Samuel can tell. I recommend checking out the entire series.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.

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Terry Shames’ last Samuel Craddock mystery, A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary, came out in 2019. I couldn’t be happier that Severn House picked up the series. Shames’ latest, Murder at the Jubilee Rally, proves that neither she nor Craddock have missed a step in the last few years.

As Chief of Police in Jarrett Creek, Texas, Craddock attends the City Council meeting with a controversial topic on the agenda. It’s almost time for the annual Jubilee Motorcycle Rally out at the lake, and the town is divided on the subject. The local “Shut Down the Town” committee failed to get the state to shut down the rally, so now they’re hoping to get the town to ban motorcycles for the week. But, business people such as Amber Johnson, owner of the local convenience store, depend on that week’s income. It looks like there might be a fight right there in the meeting, until Craddock suggests a compromise. How about a curfew? The businesses close at 8 PM, with a few exceptions.

Samuel goes out to the rally on the first day, and doesn’t see too much cause for worry. Yes, the hired security team is striking, but the rally found a competent replacement. He isn’t too worried about it now that he’s been out there.

He does have a bigger worry on this mind. His nephew, Tom, is having trouble with his sixteen-year-old daughter, Hailey. She’s drinking and sneaking out to be with an older man. So, Samuel offers to take her for the week, not even thinking about the motorcycle rally.

But, he has to think about the rally when he gets a call in the middle of the night that a body has been found. Maybe people at the rally don’t know the victim, but Craddock recognizes one of the Jarrett Creek citizens. Now, with thousands of people at the rally site, he’s caught up in a murder investigation. Was the killer from the rally, or someone in town who had a beef with the victim? And, what is he going to do with Hailey while he investigates?

Shames skillfully mixes the politics of Texas and small-town policing with Craddock’s family problems. It’s a well-written police procedural that doesn’t skimp on the humanity. How do you inform a needy family of a loved one’s death? How do you investigate, knowing you might tear a town apart? And, how do you handle a troubled teenager?

Murder at the Jubilee Rally marks the return of an empathetic small-town police chief. It’s so good to have Samuel Craddock, and Terry Shames, back again.

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The Jubilee Motorcycle Rally is due to take place once again at Jarrett Creek, bringing into town a vast array of characters - some innocent, some up to no good - but also bringing into town money and commerce for the businesses. Strong opinions are expressed amongst the townspeople, and amongst attendees, fights both verbal and physical break out - and when a body is discovered the small town sheriff has a real puzzle on his hands. The plot is more complex than it appears; whilst the fluency of the writing and dialog draws you in to the story and you are half way through before you realise it. Much more entertaining than expected, perhaps not surprisingly as this is from a skilled writer whose work I had not read before. Recommended.

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In this latest installment of the Samuel Craddock Mystery series the annual Jubilee Motorcycle Rally is quickly approaching. Some local residents are questioning continuation of the rally because of the unsavory characters it attracts, while others are interested in the money that the event brings to the community. In response, the chief of police, Samuel Craddock, attempts to placate both sides by imposing a curfew to curtail late-night celebrations. But, he never expected it would escalate to murder.

It has been several years since the last Samuel Craddock mystery was published and Murder at the Jubilee Rally feels like old times. The author hasn’t missed a beat and the plot, the characters, and the dialogue are fresh and also familiar. The book is well-written, with a sympathetic police chief who is dealing with a demanding job as well as personal concerns in the form of a rebellious niece. All in all, Murder at the Jubilee Rally is a very enjoyable book and I’m so glad that Samuel is back!

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.

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A Dilemma For The Chief…
The ninth in the Samuel Craddock mystery series and a murder at a motorcycle rally in Jarrett Creek leaves some residents with an ‘I told you so’ attitude and the chief of police with more of a dilemma than before the event. Couple in threads from Craddock’s personal life, which inevitably impact on the professional, and a satisfying storyline ensues. Nicely depicted with a well described backdrop and a cast of credible and larger than life characters. A worthy addition to this enjoyable long running series.

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Murder at the Jubilee Rally: A Samuel Craddock Mystery by Terry Shames opens with many of the locals less than thrilled with the coming event featuring motorcycle folks from all over. Some want the entire town closed for business during the Jubilee Motorcycle Rally. They want to force those attending to go over to Bobtail, another small town about ten miles away, to do their shopping. The theory being shutting down everything will keep the bikes and their noise out of the town.

Of course, the small business folks who need the money from the out of towners hate the idea as do the locals who do not want to be inconvenienced. Folks are very heated on both sides of the issue. The town meeting causes some folks to say things that would have been better left unsaid. Thanks to Police Chief Samuel Craddock and a couple of others, a compromise is worked out, where some businesses have an early curfew while others do not.

Soon the rally is underway, the compromise is working well, and things at the rally which draws hundreds of folks from all over the state of Texas and beyond are going okay. That is until a murder happens.
A murder that makes things way more complicated as Craddock and his team have been trying to keep things calm at the rally and in town. Not that ever having a murder is a good thing, but the timing right now is really bad, and not just because of the local event.

Craddock is also dealing with a serious family problem as his niece Hailey is giving her parents fits. The little girl he remembers is not the child she was if her parents are right about everything that is going on with her. The teen years can be ugly and things are ugly. Sixteen and acting out with alcohol, possibly using drugs, and sneaking out to see an older guy are just part of it. She is acting up at school too and her grades are falling. Things are so bad her parents are thinking of sending her to a boarding school for troubled kids.

Hailey and Samuel used to get along pretty well and she liked to watch the cows Samuel has and spend time with him. He offers for her to come stay a few days to give everyone a break. Samuel believes that if things get difficult, he can get advice and help from his lady friend, Wendy, as she has raised two girls and survived the teen wars. Before long, Hailey is in the house. The bad thing is, trouble in more than one form, followed her from Austin.

Between the murder of a local business owner, Hailey’s antics, and other things, there is no rest for a good lawman. Samuel Craddock and his patience is put to the test constantly through this read. Drama and trouble, on and off the job, power Murder at the Jubilee Rally: A Samuel Craddock Mystery by Terry Shames as does the summer time Texas heat and humidity.

If you have not acquainted yourself with the series, you should, and you could safely start here as references to prior events/books are limited. If you are a reader of the series that began long ago with A Killing at Cotton Hill: A Samuel Craddock Mystery then you know you are in for another fun read as author Terry Shames does not disappoint with Murder at the Jubilee Rally: A Samuel Craddock Mystery.

While the book is not scheduled to be released by Severn House until October 4, 2022, I was able to read it now thanks to a digital ARC from them through NetGalley.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2022
(The above review is currently scheduled to run on my award winning blog, Kevin's Corner, on Tuesday 8/2/2022. After a few days of exclusivity, as is custom, I will add it to other sites.)

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House Publishers for an advance copy of Murder at the Jubilee Rally, the ninth novel to feature Samuel Craddock, Chief of Police in the small East Texas town of Jarrett Creek.

Jarrett Creek is in turmoil. The annual motorbike festival, the Jubilee Rally, is coming to town and some residents, led by Lily Deverell, want it cancelled, others, led by Amber Johnson, want to make a buck. As a compromise Sam Craddock suggests a curfew and all is well until Amber is found murdered at the rally site. Sam finds himself investigating while looking after his rebellious 16 year old niece, Hailey.

I have not read this series before, so I didn’t know what I was going to get with Murder at the Jubilee Rally. I was pleasantly surprised to find a very good mystery wrapped up in a small town, folksy narrative that I thoroughly enjoyed. On the whole I think the novel is on the cosy side, but for the broad minded as sex plays a role in proceedings.

I was intrigued by the plot, which consists of one man and his dog (literally) doing most of the investigation and calling in help when needed or available, when not distracted by Hailey and her antics. Sam basically talks to people, uncovering secrets about Amber and gathering snippets of helpful information. It’s not rocket science but it has a way of making the reader turn the pages to see what is coming. I didn’t have a clue throughout and really enjoyed all the twists and potential suspects in the concluding chapters - I fell for all of them, so it was surprise after surprise. I thought it was really well done.

As I said there is a folksiness to the novel that is alien to my lifestyle. People are kind because they can be, with the downside being that little is secret. Sam’s problem is knowing who and what to ask about Amber, not that no one knows her secrets. It’s a different way of living and I found it interesting. Then there’s Hailey. She’s a brat of the highest order and I didn’t see many redeeming features. Sam has more patience with her than I ever would have had. I don’t see the point of adding her to the mix, but assume that she is there to add some drama.

Murder at the Jubilee Rally is a good read that I can recommend.

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Police Chief Samuel Craddock thought he brokered a good solution to the conflict between those who want the motorcycle rally to come to town and those who want them to go elsewhere. It's a big deal for small businesses to have a lot of visitors but the other side of the coin is the noise and other things. All is well until Amber is found stabbed to death. Now he's got a problem sorting things out, especially because Amber lived a messy life. Oh,. and he's trying to cope with his niece Hailey, a 16 year old with attitude whose parents have sent her to him to deal with. This is a nice blend of procedural and family with a steady protagonist. I'd not read the earlier books in the series-this was fine as a standalone- but I'm definitely looking for Shames in the future. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. A very good read.

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3.75 stars

Texas small town police chief Samuel Craddock is back. This series is very much focused on its setting and characters, with a laconic narration and Sam's common sense manner.

He has two challenges in this book: his teenage great niece is staying with him after her folks threw up their hands over her rebellious behavior and bad attitude. Sam and his wife basically raised her father but he has no experience with teenage girls. His interactions with her are interesting and the way in which he tries to navigate a tough situation.

But in the meantime, he has a murder to investigate. The annual motorcycle rally week is happening so everything is hectic. The town is split as to whether to welcome the income the bikers bring or shut them out because the revenue comes with a fair amount of aggravation. And in the middle of it all, a local business owner is found stabbed to death at the rally. Although technically the investigation is in the hands of the State, Sam knows his town and starts asking questions. He has to discover whether the killing is a side effect of the bikers or results from the woman's private life.

Sam's low-key style usually gets results and he is a character you don't mind spending time with. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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The annual motorcycle rally is dividing the residents of Jarrett Creek, Texas. At a town meeting, some want the bikers in town to spend money at local businesses while others find the rowdy bikers a nuisance. Chief of Police Samuel Craddock suggests a compromise: an 8:00 pm curfew to dissuade late-night partiers.

But trouble occurs when local convenience store owner Amber Johnson is found stabbed to death near Jubilee Rally's main music stage. Why had Amber left her disabled husband and two young children at home to come to the rally? While Craddock and the state police investigates the murder, he also has agreed to take care of his rebellious 16-year old niece Hailey. Failing school grades and a much-older boyfriend are worrying Hailey's parents. Craddock soon finds himself challenged to keep Hailey busy and out of trouble during the week.

This was a well-crafted police procedural with the return of a beloved cast of characters.
I received a digital ARC from Netgalley and Severn House. All opinions are my own.

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Jarrett Creek, Texas is a small town where people pretty much know how others stand on an issue. The issue currently at hand is the Jubilee Rally coming to town, or to the lake outside of town. The town hall meeting is a chance for those for and against the motorcycle rally to speak their minds. Chief of Police Samuel Craddock is on hand to listen to the arguments. Amber Johnson speaks for the merchants of the town, who stand to gain some added revenue for their independent businesses with the rally attendees coming into Jarrett Creek to buy supplies and visit the bar or eating establishments. Lily Deverell leads the citizens who want the whole town to shut down for a week for just those reasons, that the rally attendees come into town with their raucous behavior. The visitors would then be forced to go to neighboring Bobtail with their noise. Samuel, being the consistent voice of reason in Jarrett Creek suggests a compromise of a town curfew, where the shops would close a bit earlier than normal.

So, the rally begins with Samuel’s compromise in place, and no reason to believe there will be any trouble. Unfortunately, big trouble finds its way to the rally in the form of murder. Amber Johnson is found stabbed to death at the rally behind the music tent after the event had barely gotten underway. For Samuel, it’s especially bad timing, as his great-niece Hailey, who is sixteen and troubled, is due the next day to spend some time with her Great-Uncle Samuel. Hailey’s father, Tom, was raised by Samuel and his late wife Jeanne, and Hailey had always been a good kid. However, Samuel is letting her visit now because Hailey has become a rebellious teenager and is causing her parents no end of worry. A murder to solve and an unhappy teenager are going to be a major juggling act.

The murder investigation actually falls under the jurisdiction of the state police, but they are slow to start investigating. It seems that they may be purposefully dragging their feet and allowing Chief of Police Craddock to do the digging, since he knows the local people, and it’s uncertain whether it’s rally related or a locally sourced murder. Like any small town, Jarrett Creek has its secrets, and Amber Johnson has a whopper of one that will be revealed. Who better to uncover that than someone who can talk to Amber’s family and people who know her on a more personal level. Finding clues is easier if you know where to look.

Police Chief Samuel Craddock will be run ragged as he tries to understand why Amber Johnson was murdered and why sixteen-year-old Hailey has gone off the rails. He does have some help, and that help comes in the form of two women. His female officer Maria Trevino is back as his best investigative officer, both intuitive and indefatigable in her pursuit of justice. I’m glad author Terry Shames is making this character a major asset in the series, extending Maria’s original temporary status. And, on a personal level, Samuel has his girlfriend Wendy who has raised two girls of her own, one who gave her lots of headaches. Wendy also has a teenage niece who is undergoing her own attitude angst. Luckily, Wendy is also a level-headed, calm personality, so she and Samuel are able to keep their cool in all the teenage drama. Neither one of them is any push-over, but they approach problems with great civility and patience.

Murder at the Jubilee Rally is another hit out of the park for Terry Shames. Every book in this series is consistently well-written, with characters readers can’t wait to get back to (yes, Loretta and her baked goods and advice are in this book, too) and story lines that keep readers engaged from start to finish. I always enjoy following Samuel’s investigations, how he goes about the business of revealing a murderer, putting the evidence and clues together with careful consideration. You can read Murder at the Jubilee Rally without reading the previous eight titles, but I guarantee that once you’ve gotten a taste of this series and an introduction to Samuel Craddock, you will want as much of him as you can get.

Thanks to the author and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book from Severn Publishers.

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This was the fist book i read featuring Samuel Craddock and i loved it as it's gripping, well plotted, and there's a cast of fleshed out and relatable characters.
The small town atmosphere, the secrets, the differences between the raiders and the more conservative people in the town: everything is well developed and well written.
The mystery is solid, I couldn't guessed the culprit and the twists surprised me.
I can't wait to read another novel, this one is highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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