Leave Tomorrow Behind
by Judy Clemens

Poisoned Pen Press, 2014. ISBN 978-1-464-20204-9.
Reviewed by Tiffany Benton
Posted on 03/14/2014

Fiction: Mystery

Stella Crown is a strong independent dairy farmer/biker chick with a knack for solving mysteries, and the heroine of Leave Tomorrow Behind, the sixth book in Judy Clemens' Stella Crown mystery series. A future sister-in-law wedding planner; a fiancÚ, newly diagnosed with MS; a functioning dairy farm; a local teenage 4-H club; a county fair; country singers; a beauty pageant, and a murder. It's just another day for Stella.

Miranda, the soon-to-be sister-in-law, wants Stella to let her help plan a fancy wedding. Stella's not really the big wedding type, preferring farming, jeans, leather jackets and a Harley to wedding dresses, salons and planners. Still, Stella doesn't want to stress out her fiancé, Nick. So while trying to keep everyone happy, she and Nick find time go to the fair to see how well the dairy cows and their 4-H teenage caretakers do in the judging competitions.

Ah, teenagers and 4-H. I can smell the cows and hay and see the shiny white uniforms with their green neck kerchiefs. It brings back my own memories of county fairs, demonstrations and judging, award ribbons, junk food, hot and sweaty days, and first loves. But not murder!

The fair turns bad for Nick and Stella. They witness Mr. Gregg, the owner of Sunburst Studios and a promoter of country singers, arguing with three different women. They are too far away to hear what the disagreements are about, but later that evening when they hear a terrified 4-H girl scream and rush to help only to find a young woman dead, their first assumption is that Mr. Gregg did it. Stella has her own thoughts on the matter and pursues a hunch, despite the dangers. There are numerous suspects, including Stella (she is after all, a tattooed biker girl in a farm community). The results are convoluted, suspenseful and exciting.

Ms. Clemens has a lighthearted way of mixing country life with Stella's adventure-seeking personality. I find Stella interesting and want to know more about her. Though it isn't necessary for this storyline, I'd recommend reading the earlier books in the Crown Series to become more familiar with Stella and her friends. Either way, Leave Tomorrow Behind is an entertaining, easy read.

Read an excerpt from this book.

Leave Tomorrow Behind is the sixth book in the Stella Crown mystery series written by Judy Clemens who also writes the Grim Reaper mysteries and is branching into young adult and teen stories. Ms. Clemens lives in Ohio and is the past president of Sister in Crime. Visit her website.

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