“For me, the mark of a good book is where the story hooks the reader so much that you want to read faster to find out what’s going to happen, but you also want to read slower to savor the story. This book was that for me.” –Bertha, Goodreads
The decade-old death of matriarch Alberta Grambling Resnick is the only unsolved murder in Grambling, Georgia. With the passage of time, townspeople assumed the deed had been committed by a transient with no real motive or ties to the community. Newspaper reporter Branigan Powers wants to explore that theory by investigating among the town’s homeless population. Even she thinks it’s a long shot – until homeless people start dying.
As the action careens from northeast Georgia to the Carolina coast, from posh homes to hidden encampments, Branigan is racked by fear that she has awakened a murderer. Desperate, she seeks help from Malachi Ezekiel Martin, a homeless veteran who glides unseen through the town. But can she trust him?
The Cantaloupe Thief is a murder mystery but not like one you’ve read before. It asks what happens when people are invisible. What impact does that have on the rest of us?
Reviews for The Cantaloupe Thief:
You can tell Richardson-Moore is a real-life mission pastor who, as a force of nature, helped keep her beloved Triune Mercy Center on the outskirts of downtown Greenville, SC, from closing a decade ago. The invisible homeless she writes about in this entertaining, compelling story are not invisible to her. She knows their names, just as our hero Branigan Powers comes to know them. And while Richardson-Moore as both mystery writer and street-smart pastor doesn’t pretend to understand all the threads that make up her parishioners’ complicated tangle, she doesn’t presume, pontificate, or attempt to tie up life on the streets into some unlikely or politically correct neat bow. Life on her pages—as in her mission church—is messy. For the reader, that’s a gift. Always darkening the faces of many of these complex characters is the capriciousness of mental illness and the hungering need for the next fix. Richardson-Moore makes the ever-present pangs and compulsions of addiction ring like Coltrane. The New South has never been in sharper focus as on these pages. And that storied New Jerusalem has never hovered within such probable reach. – Matt Matthews, author of Mercy Creek
In The Cantaloupe Thief Deb Richardson-Moore spices her perfectly paced story with just enough detail to let us see, hear, know, and feel exactly what we need and no more. And she does it with writing that’s vibrant, crisp, and real – we’re treated to a master storyteller showing us how it’s done. Murder may be the plot that drives Richardson-Moore’s yank-you-in-from-the-first-sentence yarn, but it’s her supple and admirable talent that’s to die for. – John Jeter, author of The Plunder Room
Prepare to read Deb Richardson-Moore’s The Cantaloupe Thief like you’re getting ready for a Southern snowstorm. Run out and buy your bread and milk, stock the pantry to the brim, and cross everything off your calendar, because once reporter Branigan Powers draws you into her mystery, you’ll stick fast to the couch until you turn the last page. Bravo to Deb for creating a captivating novel so full of heart, humour, and suspense. I simply loved it. – Becky Ramsey, author of French by Heart
Deb brings the authenticity of her own work with the homeless and extensive background in newspapers to this terrific debut with a twist ending you’ll never see coming. I can’t wait to see what Branigan Powers takes on next. – Susan Simmons, former Executive Editor, Greenville Journal