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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sun, Surf, and Sandy Strangulation by J L Wilson

Sun, Surf, and Sandy Strangulation by JL Wilson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary; Mystery
Length: Full (292 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Best-selling author Bea Emerson hoped the Clue Con Writer’s Conference would let her reunite with her lover, L.J. Remarchik, and give them a chance to straighten out their troubled relationship. What she didn’t anticipate was murder and mayhem all tangled up with clues from the classic board game. Someone is targeting authors and publishers, and Bea might be next in line. Was it Miss Scarlett with the gun in the Library or Colonel Mustard with the wrench in the billiard room? But more importantly — can Bea and L.J. rescue their faltering love affair before someone makes her a victim?

Drop right into the midst of the fast-paced plot from the first line of J L Wilson’s latest Sun, Surf, and Sandy Strangulation. This lively mystery-adventure and romance starts off smack in the midst of a mystery writers' conference. It offers up a quirky and unpredictable beach-side romance, mystery, and a generous dollop of humor.

Our main character gets up close and personal as this is first person; the point-of-view is totally suitable here and carried off beautifully. Beatrice ‘B. R.’ Emerson’s feelings carry a lot of impact and, from squirming embarrassment to true terror and more, you’ll be right there with her.

Poor Bea, who should be on cloud nine and wishing for her own ‘happily ever after,’ can only recall with disgust how so much – so much- has gone wrong with her long-distance relationship. Events will conspire to bring the distant lover up close; indeed, handsome Texan Lucas Remarchik does arrive. Even better, the conference could hardly be in a more romantic spot. However; yet another murder presents a major stumbling block. No matter how Lucas feels-- here is Bea, at yet another conference, with yet another murder victim. Coincidence?

Bea’s thrilled to hit the bestseller list, but tries to avoid being identified as the speaker at that last convention with the actual murder… until murder strikes at this latest event. Struggling through an array of clues as if from the actual game ‘Clue,’ she and Lucas are more challenged than ever. Never mind solving the case! Will she get her man?

The supporting cast is also well-done, from the comic relief provided by a couple of friends, to the local gossips as well as the odd book-buying groupie. Snappy dialogue is, perhaps, just a teensy bit overdone.

Sun, Surf, and Sandy Strangulation offers a special appeal to readers who also write, as the main character is an author. Genre discussions give a special insiders giggle-- like how our heroine writes crime, switches to a more biographical romance, and finds herself turning with relief to a paranormal political thriller. The interweaving of the mystery plot and romance, in and out of the writer’s conference has a ton of appeal.

A fun read, with a breezy witty cast of characters, believable implausible action, and a light, skillful reading style. 4.5 books