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Tony Kozol is back. And so is Nina Lasher, the first real love of his life, only he doesn’t know it yet. Tony and his sidekick, bass playing, bear, er, friend, Rock, is back too. This time they are in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, working with Wilford Bodine and his Cherokee Mountain Bluegrass Band. A career step up? Nah, just one more detour along life’s bumpy road for our professional musicians and amateur sleuths. And they run into an old friend of Rocky’s while in town doing the bluegrass gig for the Single Action Gun Enthusiasts Convention. Howdy, pardner! Except this old friend of the family is newly dead and swimming with the fishies. Oh well, guess it’s up to Tony and Rock to reel in another murderer!



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"Tony Kozol, once a lawyer, is now a hand-to-mouth guitarist accompanying his bass-playing BFF Rock Bottom in the Cherokee Mountain Railroad Bluegrass Band. If the never-ending name of the group isn’t annoying enough, there’s always the venom-tongued bandleader Wilford “Sharpie” Bodine. This week’s gig is the annual convention of Single Action Gun Enthusiasts (SAGE) in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Well, it ain’t the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, but it ain’t bad, at least until Tony finds one of SAGE’s directors floating in an aquarium. Which makes Tony a suspect. And, then, Rock’s a suspect, too. And Tony’s old girlfriend, Nina, shows up. She’s making nice, but Rock develops a crush on her. Uh-oh. Stay loyal to your BFF or have a roll in the hay with his old girlfriend? Then a female director dies from a swat with a cast-iron pan, and Nina finds the body. Tony’s had better weeks, and he’d better put his amateur sleuthing skills to work or he, Rock, or Nina is going down for the killings. The sixth Kozol novel is an absurdist mix of humor and mayhem. Readers who don’t mind a little silly with their murder will thoroughly enjoy this lightweight, lighthearted caper, which delights in poking fun at conventioneers even as it kills them off."
- Booklist


"This new Tony Kozol mystery takes place in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the town that gives directions by numbering street lights. It makes me remember Maverick or Mayberry, USA, with Aunt Martha's Fudge shop tossed in for good measure. Tony, playing bass, and his buddy Rock have a gig with Wilford Bodine's Cherokee Mountain Blue Grass Band at the Single Action Gun Enthusiasts Convention known as SAGEC. It is a costume convention where all members have taken a name from the old west. The first event takes place by the snack bar, in front of a larger than life aquarium, holding a dead Dusty who was sporting a bullet hole (referred to as swimming with the fishes). Nina Lasher, Tony's true love, looks like the murderer not only of Dusty, but of Amy Goodnight -- done in with an iron skillet near her chuck wagon. Tony knows she did not do the dastardly deeds. He is hoping it is Louie Spumoni, AKA Lonesome Louie. Time for Tony to reel in another murderer. Ripley is known for his wacky humor and characters with lots of local color. Lots of puns and chuckles in this one."
- I Love a Mystery Newsletter


"When murder is loose, no one can relax. 'Gunfight in Gatlinburg' is an old western flavored mystery from J. R. Ripley, following Tony Kozol, and his brushes with love, murder, and a taste for single action guns. In the search to get down to the bottom of this, Kozol will learn much about himself and what's really important. 'Gunfight in Gatlinburg' keeps the gunslinging fun coming, much recommended."
- Midwest Book Review


"The setting in the Gatlinburg area was letter-perfect, down to the traffic light numbering. It is worth the reader’s time to read this light-hearted mystery if only for its nostalgic atmosphere with a bit of mystery – I can smell the candy and the pancakes now! Recommended for public libraries."
- Sandra Clariday, Tennessee Wesleyan College, Tennessee Library Association