Welcome to my stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Bogged Down: A Vashon Island Mystery by Charlotte Stuart. Stop by each blog on the tour for interviews, guest posts, spotlights, reviews and more!
An ancient bog hidden away in a forest is the perfect backdrop for murder…
Bogged Down: A Vashon Island Mystery
by Charlotte Stuart
I received this book free to review; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive compensation at no cost to you.
Bogged Down: A Vashon Island Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Taylor and Seale Publishing (August 5, 2020)
Paperback: 244 pages
Bogged Down is a mystery set on Vashon Island, a place that has been described as Mayberry-meets-Burning Man. Its motto: Keep Vashon Weird.
Lavender (Lew) Lewis moved there because it is only a twenty-minute ferry ride from Seattle, yet light years away in tempo and character. She grew up on a commune in Alaska, joined the army at 17, does woods parkour for exercise and HR investigations to earn a living. Life in her waterfront cabin with her two food-obsessed cats is predictable and relatively stress free. Until she leads a tour group into an ancient bog on the island and discovers a body.
My review of Bogged Down
I really enjoy Charlotte Stuart’s cozy mystery books. The first book of hers that I read was Survival Can Be Deadly which I thought was hilarious. Though Bogged Down didn’t have as many laugh out loud moments, I enjoyed the subtle humor and lighthearted feeling of this mystery.
I’ve always been captivated by the idea of living on an island, so I love reading books that are set on islands. There seems to be such a camaraderie among the residents who live on islands. Sure that feeling of togetherness might not apply to everyone, but it seems like everyone has a place to fit in. Many of the residents have lived on Vashon Island their entire lives. Others, like Lew, are newcomers…she’s been there for 10 years!! She’s still a newbie.
The residents are passionate about their island and keeping it preserved. However, not everyone agrees on how to do that. There are those who want to keep the island wild and allow the wild animals like coyotes to roam free. Then there are those who do not want coyotes on the island at all and want to trap them or shoot them to protect the domesticated animals. That’s definitely a dilemma. I’m always sad to see new developments arise in areas where the wild animals still live because then those wild animals start to become a nuisance.
So, when a dead body is found in the bog, the residents automatically think that it has something to do with the wilding controversy. But does it?
I really enjoyed the characters in Bogged Down. They are very well developed, and I enjoyed getting to know them. Bogged Down is a fast-paced page-turning book, and I read it very quickly. The plot is exciting, and the the mystery will keep you guessing. I definitely think this is one you will enjoy, and I highly recommend it.
Character guest post: Lavender “Lew” Lewis on the Wilding of the Island
My friends call me Lew. Only a few people call me Lavender, the name my mother chose for me. When I left the Alaskan commune at 17 to join the army, I thought I was leaving the name I hated behind, along with all of the rules and phobias I’d grown up with. But your past has a way of holding on to you no matter how much effort you put into recreating yourself.
Since I grew up in a sparsely populated part of Alaska, I’m comfortable with the notion of living around wild animals and constantly being aware of your surroundings. Obviously it’s different in the city, so for a time I didn’t think about any wild animals except the raccoons that I blamed for stripping my plum tree of fruit each fall. Then I moved to Vashon, an island you can only reach by ferry, and found myself in the midst of a controversy about the wilding of the island.
The island has four packs of coyotes and a lone cougar, plus more than enough deer and raccoons to require eight-foot tall fences around vegetable or serious flower gardens. The problem is that the semi-rural island also has a lot of domestic animals. And although coyotes are thought to eat primarily mice, squirrels and rabbits, they are also known to prey on cats and small dogs. As for the cougar, residents were hoping he would feast on the excessive number of deer, but no such luck. Deer are fleet of foot, whereas domestic animals trapped in enclosures are “fast food” for our hungry but lazy carnivore.
Now I know that a lot of readers don’t like to think about the possibility of pets – or any animals – being in danger. But living in close proximity with wild animals makes you a realist. There is a hierarchy in the animal kingdom that humans can’t change. That’s why I worry about my two demanding cats – Dilly and Natasha. I don’t want them to end up on one of the “Lost” posters I see around the island. Still, I know they could fall prey to a coyote, or just as easily to an eagle, or they could be run over by a car. Anything can happen.
Trying to keep an outdoor cat safe is like trying to ward off a virus. You can take practical precautions, but there are no guarantees. Still, I’ve very attached to my two companions, and I try very hard to keep them safe. Not that they appreciate my efforts. They yowl that I’m a jailer not a protector.
The cougar, on the other hand, presents an even more complicated problem. Wildlife experts have come to the island to give talks on how to live in harmony with a large carnivore, but all that seems to have done is make the anti-wilding advocates more determined to rid the island of its cougar. And I admit to having mixed feelings about whether it’s a good idea for him to remain on the island.
This summer I’m going to participate in the howling survey done by the Island Land Stewards to determine how many coyotes are on the island. Coyotes tend not to howl if they are alone, so the surveys target family groups with pups to estimate reproduction patterns. This involves broadcasting recorded coyote howls into the night to get young pups who are just learning to howl to call back with their high-pitched, erratic howls and yelps.
Unfortunately, the survey has become quite controversial this year because of what we found when I lead a tour into an ancient bog on the island a few weeks ago. If you’d like to know what happened, I’ll tell you all about it in Bogged Down.
About Charlotte Stuart
In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart has a passion for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. She began her career in academia, spent nine years commercial salmon fishing in Alaska, was a partner in a consulting group, and a VP for a credit union. Currently, she is the VP for Puget Sound Sisters in Crime and lives and writes on Vashon Island in Washington State’s Puget Sound. She spends time each day entertained by herons, seals, eagles, and other wildlife.
Website – www.charlottestuart.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/quirkymysteries
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/clzstuart/?hl=en
Enter the giveaway Ended
Bogged Down Tour Participants
I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST
The Ninja Librarian – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
Literary Gold – EXCERPT
Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
Thoughts in Progress – EXCERPT
Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
My Reading Journeys– REVIEW
Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
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