Review: Out of the Picture by Tracy Gardner

Posted December 15, 2023 by Lola in Mystery, Review / 2 Comments

Review graphic

Out of the Picture book coverOut of the Picture (Shepherd Sisters Mysteries #1)
by Tracy Gardner
narrated by Karissa Vacker

My Rating: 4 stars

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF

Join the Shepherd sisters in solving a mystery…before it’s too late!

This artful cozy mystery is perfect for fans of Krista Davis and Joanne Fluke.

Savanna Shepherd is a former art authenticator—someone who can tell a forgery from the real thing. She’s got a talent for spotting secrets hiding in plain sight.

In the wake of a painful breakup, she moves back to her idyllic hometown on the banks of Lake Michigan. At least she’s close to her sisters again, and she’s enjoying her new job as a grade school art teacher.

Savanna even rediscovers her creative soul when an old family friend hires her to paint a mural. But sad and strange incidents occur at the woman’s mansion, compelling Savanna to investigate. With a little help from her sisters—and from Aidan, the intriguing town doctor—will she be able to figure out what’s wrong with this picture?

This intriguing cozy mystery includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Holy Yum Baked Chicken.

My Review

I read and enjoyed the first two books in Tracy Gardner’s Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series and wanted to read this series too. I eventually spotted the first two books in this series discounted in audio and quickly bought both books and started listening to Out of the Picture. I had a great time listening to Out of the Picture the story and characters were great and the narrator was a good one too.

In Out of the Picture Savanna returns to her home town after a breakup and losing her job. Back with her family and in a town she loves she starts a new career teaching art at a school and even meets Aidan whom she develops feelings for. I really liked Out of the Picture, I quickly got pulled into the story and enjoyed reading about Savanna and her family. I appreciated how the book starts with Savanna already back in her home town, settled in, happy to be back and starting her new job. I felt this increased the pace of the book and while we see Savanna being happy to be back home, I also appreciated she was already a bit more settled when the story began.

The mystery was a good one and kept me guessing. The mystery itself felt fresh as well as the way it progressed over weeks of time instead of a shorter time frame most cozies have. It wasn’t clear at first whether it had been a murder or whether the women died of natural causes, then weird events keep piling up surrounding Savanna’s friend Caroline and her house. And Savanna gets involved trying to keep Caroline safe and starts figuring things out. I liked how she keeps sharing her suspicions and ideas with Aidan as well as her family. It always felt like she wasn’t alone in this and had others to help her out. I liked how Savanna figured out who the murderer was instead of the murderer revealing themselves. The ending had a suspenseful scene and then everything got wrapped up well.

I liked reading about Savanna, I thought she was a likable character. I liked seeing her interact with her family and how they were all there for each other. I liked Savanna’s relationship with her two sisters. She also has a cute dog. I thought the art theme was a fun one and I liked reading about Savanna’s art knowledge as well as how she teaches art now and likes to paint.

To summarize: This was a great start to this series! I enjoyed reading about Savanna and how she got involved in the mystery. The mystery felt fresh with the way it was set up and progressed, as well as how it spanned several weeks. I also liked how Savanna shares her suspicions and thoughts not only with her family, but with Aidan as well, and all of them help her out. The mystery kept me guessing with several potential suspects that all made sense and had motive. I liked how it all came together and got wrapped up as well as how Savanna figured out who the murderer was instead of the murderer revealing themselves. I liked reading about Savanna’s daily life, her love for art, her relationship with her family as well her budding romance with Aidan. The narrator fit the book well and I enjoyed listening to it. I look forward to the next book in the series!

4 Stars


You can also read my review on Goodreads and Bookbub.

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2 responses to “Review: Out of the Picture by Tracy Gardner

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