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Miranda Trent has set up a sweet life in a scenic corner of Appalachia—until she stumbles across the trail of a killer.

After inheriting her uncle’s Red River Gorge homestead in Eastern Kentucky—smack dab in the middle of the Daniel Boone National Forest—Miranda comes up with a perfect business plan for summer tourists: pairing outdoor painting classes with sips of local moonshine, followed by a mouthwatering sampler of the best in Southern cooking.

To Miranda’s delight, Paint & Shine is a total success—until someone kills the cook. As the town’s outsider, suspicion naturally falls on Miranda. Murdering the best biscuit baker of Red River Gorge is a high crime in these parts. Miranda will have to prove her innocence before she’s moved from farmhouse to jail cell faster than she can say “white lightning” . . .

The Big Thrill caught up to author Cheryl Hollon to gain a little insight into her latest cozy mystery, STILL KNIFE PAINTING:

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

Cozy mysteries provide a series of surprises and thrills in a comforting setting with striking characters. M. C. Beaton described her books this way: “Reviewers call what I do cozy crime, a description I dislike. I prefer comfy crime. I pack in plenty of murders, I just don’t do blood and gore.”

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

The farmhouse setting for this series warms the bottom of my heart. My grandfather built the house from a Sears kit that he ordered from the catalog. The beams in the attic still show the numbers for assembling. He was a mason with a large family. It was home to three generations of my family.

Cheryl Hollon

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

Like the protagonist, I spent most of my summers in eastern Kentucky on a farm with no shoes, no bedtime, indulgent grandparents, and more than a hundred acre wood to stoke my imagination. There were harsh elements as well that helped me grow into a capable, confident, focused young lady. I treasured those golden memories.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L. Sayers were my guidance counselors as a teen. I explored the world by solving murders with them by my side. Bliss!

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

If readers close this book feeling like they have spent time close to nature, close to their hearts, and close to justice, I’m good.


Cheryl Hollon now writes full-time after she left an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for oil painting and creating glass art. Cheryl and her husband live in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.