Book Review: Hoard It All Before

Hello acrobats and trapeze artists!

How’s life treating you? Good I hope!

I’m recovering well from my surgery and should be back to normal at some point next week. Yay, progress! Also, grad school started so it’s been a real juggling act with work, school, and leisure reading, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Today I’m sharing my book review of the circus-themed mystery novel Hoard it all Before by Tammie Painter.

If there’s anything I’ve learned with Tammie Painter’s work over the past few years, it’s that she’s an expert at writing fiction with a lighthearted feel to it.

Lately I’ve been doom and glooming it up with my read of the Invincible graphic novel series (you can check that out here), so I was overdue for some laughs with a side of murder.

I have high expectations of the illustrious Mrs. Painter, so was this a home run or did it strike out? Keep on scrolling to find out!



Like any traveling circus, Zin’s has hair-raising acts and fried food on sticks. But it’s also got an aura-spotting centaur, a chain-smoking unicorn, and an omelet-addicted dragon.

Oh, and a body in the center ring.

Duncan — aka “Brutus Fangwrath, Deadliest Dragon in the West” — wakes one morning to find his best friend isn’t just sleeping off a hangover.

Suspicion for the murder quickly turns to the circus’s new hire, Cordelia Quinn. After all, she’s got motive, she got means, and she’s got loads of circumstantial evidence stacked against her.

When it looks like no one else is going to step in to help Cordelia, it’s up to Duncan to unravel the case, prove Cordelia’s innocence, and uncover a troubling secret along the way.

As soon as he’s done with his omelet, that is.

Set in a 1930s that’s just a tad different than what you’re used to, Hoard it all Before is the start of a delightful humorous mystery series with plenty of tantalizing twists, a troupe of quirky characters, and death-defying feats both in and beyond the big top.

If you like paranormal mysteries like those by Kim M. Watt and C.K. McDonnell that mix laughs in with the murderous mayhem, you’ll love Hoard it all Before.



***Brief disclosure***

I am an Amazon affiliate and earn a tiny commission for purchases made through the Amazon links in this post at no cost to you. It’s a great way to help me keep things running on my blog if you’re already intrigued enough to make a purchase. 



The Review

What a fun circus-themed murder mystery!

Tammie Painter’s a great author, and I really think she outdid herself with this book.

Duncan the dragon aka Brutus is the main act for a travelling circus. He loves omelets, drinking wine by the bucket, and interacting with all the other mythical beasts he works with. Life is a dream, up until Duncan’s handler dies and an innocent is blamed for it. Duncan must put on his thinking hat and try to make things right before the life he’s known implodes around him.

I gotta say, Duncan really made this book work. He was such a great, quirky character. I loved how much he craved omelets and cheese and his slight misunderstandings of human language. He was really funny and kept things light despite the dire circumstances in this book.

Fergus was a good character too. I’ve never heard of a chain-smoking unicorn before, but I’m a big fan now! Boris was also a delight, and I enjoyed his detective getup. Very cute.

I would categorize this as a light mystery. There are some twists and turns, but not so much to make your head spin. I will say that I figured things out pretty quickly and wish it would’ve had a bit more mystery to it. For that I took a little off of my star rating, but the plot was engaging, fun, and full of great puns that were memorable. I especially liked the ending and that Duncan’s journey isn’t over yet.

Can’t wait to find out where his silly antics take him!


That’s A Wrap!

Well that’s it for this book review. I hope you enjoyed it!

Have you read this book? Are there other similar books you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment or check out some of my other reviews below.

Have a great day!

Other Tammie Painter Book Reviews

Short Story Review: Grave Bargains

Book Review: The Undead Mr. Tenpenny

Short Story Review: Moonlight Cruise


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  1. Oh man, I can’t tell you how scared I was to see your review. But yay! Pleasant stellar surprises!!! I do have to say, no shade on Duncan, but Fergus turned out to be my favorite character to write. I really wanted to turn the “pure” unicorn thing on its head. I might just have managed it. : ) Thanks for the review!!!

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