by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ARC copy of Facials Can Be Fatal. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
If Cut ‘N Dye hair salon owner Marla Vail was hoping for a quiet holiday season, she’s in for a disappointment. Instead, it’s going to be a Hanukkah and Christmas season of murder, secrets, a hidden treasure, and family expectations. It begins with shrieks from the adjoining spa aesthetician Rosana Hernandez alerting Marla of the death of client Valerie Weston. Her allergy to latex has proven to be fatal, apparently due to a latex-laced facial mask. It’s not the first time Marla has had an encounter with death in her salon, nor is the implication that it may not have been an accident. Val Weston was a major donor to the Friends of Old Florida, a historic preservation society that annually hosts a lavish holiday fundraising ball. This year Marla’s salon is styling the hair of the models in its featured fashion show, and the publicity will benefit Cut ‘N Dye immeasurably. A successful show should also counter any notoriety from Val’s untimely death, which Marla doesn’t need now that she is in contention for a new job. So it’s fortuitous that Marla’s duties behind the runway grant her access to those closest to Val, whose demise may have been caused by that devotion to her causes.
The bodies quickly pile up as clues lead Marla to financial improprieties, a questionable plastic surgeon, and a mysterious journal left by one of Val’s ancestors. When she isn’t tracking down those connected to Val’s unexpectedly shielded life, Marla is busy planning her second dual Hanukkah/Christmas celebration for her family. The investigation may be out of the jurisdiction of Marla’s new husband, but Palm Haven homicide detective Dalton Vail still consults with his wife and passes on her instrumental information. If only he would stop bringing up the topic of making a little addition to the Vail family…
This thirteenth book in the Bad Hair Day Mystery fully exploits Marla’s skills as both as an amateur detective and as a hair stylist. She deftly maneuvers through organized chaos of a fashion show, but it is of course Marla’s ability to invite confidences that make her such an asset to the police investigation. What proves to be far more challenging are the continual insinuations and suggestions that Marla should start focusing on having a baby as soon as possible. It has been a struggle for Marla to overcome the guilt of a tragedy that plagued her for decades, so Marla is doing all she can to avoid the topic. Focusing on the investigation proves to be far preferable, especially considering that her own best friend may be hiding a crisis. Longtime fans will feel fully invested in following Marla’s personal development, while mystery lovers will be surprised by the increasingly complex plot and numerous villains. The fast pace will have readers swiftly turning the pages of this compelling holiday mystery, and its auspicious conclusion leaves them anxiously hoping for more.
To enter to win and ARC copy of Facials Can Be Fatal, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “facials,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 11, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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