by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.
“Liv, this is Celebration Bay. Anything can happen.”
These words spoken by her assistant/gossip guru Ted Driscoll are ones event coordinator Liv Montgomery takes to heart, although after leaving her high-pressure but prestigious job as a Manhattan party planner, Liv never expected that the seemingly placid Celebration Bay would immerse her in multiple murders and unexpected disasters. Having successfully navigated her way through a previous murder investigation and successfully completing several autumn festivals Liv assumed that December’s Christmas events would go more smoothly.
Liv has made her preparation lists and checked them twice with multiple contingency plans but she couldn’t prepare for the new, cheap and very tacky Trim A Tree store hiring a disreputable Santa and the town’s veteran Santa demanding that Liv deal with it. Newly purchased by Clarence Thornsby and being run by his taste-deprived wife, Grace, Thornsby has been ruffling feathers all over town, never the more so when the TAT is the only storefront that fails to turn on their holiday lights during the Santa parade. Exasperated and at the end of her patience, Liv bolts for the store to castigate Grace only to discover the TAT Santa buried but unwrapped beneath their tasteless Christmas tree.
Unfortunately for Liv, her current Santa, Hank Ousterhout, happens to have once been married to Grace and his brief absence before the parade and reappearance with a formerly missing Santa costume–now sprinkled with fresh blood–combine to make him a very viable suspect in the murder. In a town that survives on tourism, one Santa killing another does not make the best press release, so Liv throws herself into the investigation under the guise of her always meticulous and detail-focused event planning.
Liv does seem to lose her mind a bit when she becomes obsessed with her job, as she attempts to violate the crime scene in order to obtain a replacement Santa suit for the following day’s events. Thankfully, clearer heads and the Stitch in Time Sewing Club prevail. Always ready to ground Liv with his sarcasm is former Los Angeles Time investigative reporter and current editor of the Celebration Bay Clarion, Chaz Bristow, who mocks her rigidity and organizational skills despite his own sharp observations and sporadic investigative skills.
While Liv and the reader are told that Chaz’s behavior is a defense mechanism, his taunts and teasing can be grating even though they are assumedly akin to the courtship of a little boy pulling a girl’s braids when trying to get attention. So it’s refreshing when the head of security Liv hired to support the police and ensure the safety of the festivals appears to have a romantic interest in her as well. Always ready to provide support despite his traitorous affection for Chaz, is Liv’s rescue Westie Whiskey, indulged and beloved by the entire town and who shamelessly milks their affection for biscuits and treats.
Freydont is a skilled writer who, in this second of the Celebration Bay Mysteries, continues to highlight funny and likable characters as well as mustache-twirling villains. They may not actually have mustaches, but they do continually plague Liv and her efforts like pesky, buzzing mosquitoes. The dialogue is funny and fast and the plot carries the reader along swiftly to reveal a not unexpected but sympathetic culprit. It’s Christmas all year-round for readers of this very enjoyable series.
Check out this fun guest post by Shelley about her character’s sidekick Westie!
To enter to win a copy of Silent Knife, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Knife,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September, 28 2013. U.S. residents only.
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