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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Murder and Lies by K.R. Bailey

Murder and Lies by K.R. Bailey
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (161 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rated: 4.5 Stars
Review by Snapdragon

After Vienna’s shocking death, Maggie Benson never thought her world could get any darker. The sheriff determined it was suicide, but Maggie cannot accept that. When her diner is vandalized and her cook is hurt, her world begins whirling out of control. She is plunged into a world of deceit where she is followed and her home broken into.

When Wilson Beaumont shows up, Maggie is immediately drawn to him, but senses he is hiding something that has to do with Vienna. Wilson is searching to find answers about his daughter and thirteen million dollars missing from the Longstreet Bank. If he doesn’t find the money soon, he knows he will be killed.

Wilson and Maggie must find a way to trust each other in order to survive. But after all the murders and lies, is it too late to uncover the secrets that threaten their future together?

It starts with murder, but stumbles toward love: K. R. Bailey’s “Murder and Lies” opens with the shock of a friend’s death – but it is far more than a simple murder-mystery. Maggie Benson is an appealing main character from the start. She helps people, and is simply heartbroken at her young friend and employee’s death. Her motivation, in the beginning, is obvious.

Wilson Beaumont has a whole different problem: money. And not just lack of money – it's lack of a whole lot of money, and there's a good deal of trouble headed his way because of it. Of course, it’s the dead girl who has the information he needs… a dead girl who is more to him than he wants known at first.

The town of Twin Rivers hardly seems the sort to have this drama land in its midst. It really has such charming aspects – and the author describes things beautifully. The flickering light of campfires for example, or the day-to-day operations in the diner all work to set the mood. This is a town of kindly folks too, like like Sherriff Anderson and Lindsay.

However, the distant specter of a menacing bank owner looms over all for contrast; there are the ruthless, as well.

At first, we feel a bit angry that Wilson brings all this to the quiet town – right to Maggie’s little diner, in fact. However, it isn’t long before we suspect that it was Vienna who first brought the trouble. Who to trust will become central to uncovering what really happened. Each new revelation throughout throws even more intrigue into the mix. Although Maggie becomes more and more attached to Wilson, she also discovers (or thinks she discovers) more and more about him. And it is not all good. The interplay between the two is engaging and utterly believable – conversations both reveal and raise our suspicions. We readers know how we want things to go, but increasingly, we wonder if these people are who we think they are.

There are a couple of lose threads. For example, I can’t help wondering how or why Wilson became so sure that Maggie could help reveal what really happened. The great point is that the interaction between the two moves the plot forward. This is not at all a mystery overlaid with a romance; each piece is integral to the plot.

A matter of trust; a matter of the heart. “Murder and Lies” does deliver on the suspenseful mystery, but doubly so on the feelings of the heart. This is an absolutely gripping romance. A must read, for sure.