Guest Review – Death by Honeymoon

Good Morning~! Hope everyone is doing well. (P.S. I miss yall) Anyways…

Today’s guest post comes from talented author Kathryn Lively. Not only does Kat boast a pretty hefty string of writing/editing credentials (ForWord Magazin, AOL DigitalCities, Envoy Magazine…etc) and written a whopping 13 novels (including Dead Barchetta, Pithed and Little Flowers) but she is and EPIC Award winner! (I’ll pause for a round of applause.)  If you would like to get to know Kat better you can visit her on her main site or stalk her on Twitter at @MsKathrynLively. Happy Reading!

Death by Honeymoon: Book #1 in the Caribbean Murder Series)

When I learned KindleObsessed sought guest authors for the month of June, I volunteered immediately. I have the Kindle (rather, eBooks in general) to credit for my return to the reading world. In college I had no problem putting away as many as three or four novels a week — and I don’t mean puny mass markets, either. I’m talking about those thousand-pages thick Stephen King sagas one could use to wall a fence around the front yard.

In the last decade, though, parenthood and work took up enough time for me to slip away from reading pleasure. Though many of my novels first released digitally, eBooks were not something I read until I actually acquired a device that made it easy for me to buy, download, and read anywhere and anytime.

The consequent boom in affordable titles from first-time and seasoned independent authors has only served to increase my love of reading. When offered the opportunity to review a title on KindleObsessed I chose a mystery, my home genre, because I had not enjoyed one in a long time. Death By Honeymoon caught my eye with an intriguing premise and the promise of a well-rounded sleuth.

Cindy Blaine believed she had found the man of her dreams, the man with whom she’d grow old, surrounded by grandchildren in the cozy home they built together. Any hopes of a happily ever after, however, shattered mere days into the young couple’s honeymoon. On discovering her groom’s twisted body washed up along a rough patch of the shore of Barbados, Cindy is naturally devastated, yet suspicious of the speed with which the Bajan police dismisses Clint’s death as an accidental drowning. She is convinced Clint had help.

Back home, one plainly sees why Cindy might feel reluctant to accept the official ruling. Her in-laws, whose collective presence seems to drop the temperature whenever they visit, seem more concerned with money and probating Clint’s will than consoling the young widow. Cindy can’t help but suspect one of them might have arranged a way to expedite a reading. Then there’s the odd letter in the mail Clint never received, containing a photograph of a strange woman and a mild threat. Determined to prove Clint’s murder, Cindy chips away at clues with a diligence that frustrates friends and family and endangers her own well-being.

While Honeymoon delivers on suspense, I found the mystery rather obvious early on in the story. Author Skye brings Cindy from Point A to Point B with methodical pacing that is mildly marred by many instances of telling the story rather than showing the action. The beginning chapters that cover the fated honeymoon and aftermath seemed rushed, as though Skye wanted to get the murder out of the way in order to for Cindy to spend more time solving it. As a sleuth, Cindy is determined (and admirably so) yet bland. Supporting players appear cut from their respective stock descriptions as well: angry and accusatory in-laws, the supportive sister, and Clint’s patronizing boss. The way this novel portrayed Clint made me think he was the most interesting of the cast.

When reviewing eBooks I don’t normally comment on formatting gaffes because I know some books look differently in specific readers. People tend to expect to mistakes in indie/self-published works, and while I spotted a few in this book it didn’t take away from the reading experience. One continuity error involving surnames, however, deserves a mention if Skye plans to continue this series.

Death By Honeymoon is a book one can read rather quickly. As a series anchor there is promise for character growth, but I would definitely encourage the author to delve more into the moment when writing scenes rather than glossing over events. Such improvements will bring me back to the beach.

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About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.