by Sandra Murphy
This week we have reviews of a couple fun mysteries from Kensington authors-Slayed on the Slopes by Kate Dyer Seeley and Antiques Con by Barbara Allan, and a giveaway of Slayed on the Slopes-details at the end of this post.
Slayed on the Slopes By Kate Dyer Seeley
Review by Sandra Murphy
Meg Reed is a writer for Portland’s Northwest Extreme magazine. They’re into extreme sports, well Meg’s not but she tries to keep up. Her strength is that while she can’t do the sports, she can write about them in such a way readers will feel the cold air rushing past their faces as they turn the page.
She’s worked to improve the skills she has and is ready to write about a newly formed rescue/guide group called Ridge Rangers. They’ve poached many of the members from another group to create elite, highly trained guides to take novices or experts on extreme climbs as well as do rescues when needed. Too bad the founder has more money than people skills. He’s rude, obnoxious, “grabby” with the women, sleeping with someone else’s fiancé and fighting with Clint, the man with the most experience. It only gets worse when Ben drinks and he does that a lot…until.
Ben is determined to go out and ski during a whiteout blizzard. Clint says “No” and Ben pretty much gives him the “You’re not the boss of me” speech. They get Ben headed to a room to sleep it off and settle in for what might be a day or two of being cut off from the main lodge below. Meg’s friend Henry isn’t in a good mood. When she can’t find him, she goes out to look. This is not a good idea since she has no concept of what a whiteout is (why ever not?) and is not dressed for the weather. Luckily, she does manage to get back inside.
The next morning, Clint wants to start training to keep everyone sober and sharp. Ben is nowhere to be found. A search party goes looking for him that consists of Clint, the doctor, and Meg who insists she heard a noise the day before, possibly a gunshot. Sure enough, Ben’s body is found amidst red snow.
Suspects for Ben’s death are abundant. There’s Lola, the host/cook for the event–Ben was grabby and not taking no for an answer, Clint who lost patience with Ben’s bossiness and carelessness with safety, and Henry who brought the rifle for a safety class. Ben also threatened Henry’s endorsement by one of the snowboard outfitters, the woman Ben slept with, the fiancé of that woman…the list goes on and on.
Meg makes another trip to the lodge to visit her Grandmother and Gam’s Sheriff boyfriend. There’s a wedding going on so that’s why they and Meg’s friends are there. Meg manages to miss the last snow cat run and takes the chair lift up the mountain.
Bad, really bad, idea…
Throughout the story is the subplot. Meg’s father was a reporter on the trail of a huge story about meth labs and rumors abound that he fudged his findings that led to his firing from the newspaper. Only a handful of people believed him, including Meg’s friend, Matt. He’s at the lodge for the wedding and wants to talk to Meg but keeps getting interrupted. While Ben’s murder is solved, the mystery of Meg’s dad continues on.
I like the characters and the setting is real. There’s a lot of information about extreme sports, safety and tips without having an information dump. My only problem is Meg’s carelessness. She insists on investigating, puts herself into danger more than once to the point of TSTL (too stupid to live). Going to the swimming pool alone, riding the chair lift alone, going out into the storm without proper gear or knowing how dangerous whiteout is–all dumb moves. I keep reminding myself she’s twenty-three, younger than most characters, but if she wants to make it to twenty-four and more books, she has to wise up. There are a lot of tips at the back of the book and Meg should have read them.
Scene of the Climb was the first book in the series. It’s a good series with a lot of promise, good writing and likeable characters, as long as Meg grows up some.
Antiques Con By Barbara Allan
Review by Sandra Murphy
Vivian and Brandy Borne are in New York City. It may never be the same again. Each of them has a mixed agenda for the trip and Brandy wants to get her mind off her boyfriend, Tony. As police chief, he had to enter witness protection after testifying against a low level mobster. She also wants to reconnect with her niece/half-sister (it’s a long story). Vivian, well, it’s always hard to tell just what she’s up to but you can be sure it will involve mayhem.
The two main goals were to fetch Aunt Olive and to auction off an original Superman sketch at Comic Con. Aunt Olive passed away and her ashes were made into a glass paperweight. Unfortunately, it got mixed in with others at a garage sale and the chase was on as each person who got Aunt Olive, re-gifted her to someone else. The Superman sketch was a rare find and part of a storage locker; both Brandy and Vivian have high hopes for the auction.
They’re guests of Tommy, the Con’s creator. He promised them a suite but failed to deliver. To make up for it, he switches rooms with them. When someone breaks in during the night, the question is–was it for Tommy or for the Superman sketch? Did I mention Vivian has it handcuffed to her wrist and keeps losing the key and the combination to the briefcase?
Vivian and Brandy decide to take the freight elevator to avoid the crowds. Both are astonished to find Tommy’s body, stabbed with a pen, designed to be an award given at the closing ceremony. It’s engraved but buried too deeply in his body for Vivian to read the name and being Vivian, she tried.
There are any number of suspects including Tommy’s former business partner, the Mob (Tommy’s connected), whoever didn’t win. Sal Casatto, Tony’s brother, is in charge of the case. He’s heard a lot about Brandy and especially, Vivian, from Tony. In spite of all warnings, Brandy does some quiet questioning of her own. Vivian investigates but never quietly.
Of course, Sushi, their blind and diabetic dog, steals every scene.
It’s hard to tell a lot about the book–you’d never believe it without reading it–but suffice it to say, Vivian in a strip joint shouting advice to pole dancers, Brandy in a flying monkey costume complete with wings made from umbrellas, and both of them switching clothes with Alice in Wonderland and the Queen of Hearts in the ladies room, and that isn’t the half of it.
As always, a romping good read with twists and turns you don’t see coming. Vivian is over the top, the only style she knows. Brandy is more patient than Mother Teresa. Sushi is her usual doggie self. At the end of each chapter, there’s a Trash and Treasures tip. This is the paperback of last year’s hard cover version, so luckily you won’t have to wait for the next book as Antiques Swap is available now. There’s an excerpt of it in this book, complete with a recipe for fried butter with a honey glaze. What? This is Vivian and Brandy! You were expecting sensible food?
This is book eight in the series, with two additional e-books. You can certainly read them out of order but why? You won’t want to miss an escapade.
To enter to win a copy of Slayed On the Slopes simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Slayed,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 2, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
I think the reviews are as good as the books! Thanks for an entertaining read.
Great review! Both are fun series. Thanks for the giveaway!
scouts579 (at) aol (dot) com
Sounds like a fun mystery! Thank you for a chance to win.
Thanks for such good reads!
I’ll live vicariously through this book. I’d never get on the slopes. Both books sound good.
Just what I love – fun mysteries!!!
What wonderful offers! Thanks muchly!
We have a winner
Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher