Larissa Reinhart, Cherry is asked to paint a portrait of recently deceased Dustin Branson - in his coffin- for his stepmother.
Unfortunately his cousin Shawna fancies herself an artist and sets up to compete with Cherry. As bizarre as it seems, Cherry stations herself at the funeral home to being her sketches. Her concentration is disturbed by the appearance of Luke, the stepbrother, and her former boyfriend. He still manages to light a flame with his good looks and dimpled smile, but Cherry remembers his elusive ways.
To continue her work on the portrait, Cherry steals back into the funeral home in the middle of the night. While she is painting she notices the flap on his jacket is folded inside itself. It had not been like that before, so she decides to straighten it out. As she grasps the small bag inside the pocket someone hits her on the head and when she wakes up, the scene before her gives her chills. Her easel and paints are strewn over the floor, the coffin lies almost tipped to one side and Dustin is
This incident creates a stir in Halo as the Tucker family is notorious for the family's behavior. Cherry has been trying to overcome their reputation, but now she fears her career as an artist will suffer. Cherry decides it's time to find out who killed Dustin and why they are trying to stop her painting.
Halo is a place where everyone knows everyone's business, past and present, so Cherry begins to ask questions. When her truck and gun are stolen and another person winds up dead, Cherry is the natural suspect. Fortunately her uncle Will knows she could not have killed Creepy Pete, so she continues to investigate despite his warnings not to.
Portrait of a Dead Guy is a very quirky book with lots of goofy characters and an insight into life in rural Georgia. Cherry is smart and has talent, and hopefully she will have success in her art career.