by George Arnold and Ken Squier
Church Lady Gang 
Published in 2014 by Eakin Press.
Reviewed by Trilla Pando.
I spent a few days last week roaming around Austin, and I didn’t even have to pull my car out of its Houston driveway. I poured a glass of lemonade, slid into my reading chair and—off to Austin. All over Austin with some new pals courtesy of authors George Arnold and Ken Squier.
We started off with an escapade at H-E-B in Oak Hill, then zoomed up Mo-Pac out to Great Hills; that was the beginning of my escapades with my new old-lady friends. It’s okay to call them that—after all, this transporting book is named Adventures of the Church Lady Gang: A Conspiracy of Crones.  The ladies live up to their name—they certainly have adventures and like true church ladies, they do good. But they do their good in such distinctive (and questionably legal) ways that they quickly involve the Austin Police Department.
Enter Detective Sergeant Craig Rylander and his wife/advisor Amy Clark-Rylander. The Rylanders may be familiar to many readers. This book is the fourth in a series crafted by Texas writers (and lifelong pals) Arnold and Squier. It’s the first for me, but my to-read list just got longer by three. I like their story, and I like their style.
The shifting point of view lets the reader know what’s going on with every one of the many characters. A list of characters helped me keep up and the handy map let me know where I was. Many thanks for this, I wish more authors did it. The story has an almost satisfying resolution. I have just a few questions left.
Good news! A new Rylander book is on the horizon, CLUSTER: Beyond Alchemy will be out soon; maybe those questions will be answered. I hope some of the church crones make it into the story. I do wonder what that gang will be up to next.
This book will be a great welcome-to-Austin gift to new residents. They can learn the territory while they wonder what kind of weird place they’re calling home.
Trilla Pando holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Houston; she taught in both Texas and Georgia. Her research focused on women in Texas and Houston. The Bainbridge (Georgia) Post-Searchlight published her weekly column on food and local history. She now lives and works in Houston.

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