Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber

While the title may lead you to believe that this novel centers around a murder involving a bikini, that is not the focus, although such a murder does occur. The novel was a nice and easy little mystery, even if certain things are a bit obvious even if the author tries to lead you to think otherwise.

Aphra has a life that most people would envy, living on a secluded island that famous people use as a hideaway, yet she misses the things most people take for granted. Soon the mysterious Smith family unexpectedly arrives, turning her easy-going father into agitated nervous-wreck. When he won't tell her anything about the family and she starts bonding with the teenage son Adam, it's time for her to uncover what's so mysterious about them, which includes a fatal car accident and fake names. After a girl is killed with her bikini, Aphra realizes that the family is dangerous. Then, the threatening Mr. Watts arrives and, before long, Aphra doesn't know who to trust and she's being shot at. In a life and death struggle, Aphra tries to make sense of everything happening on her once quiet and safe island.

The novel was enjoyable in a simple thriller way. In the sense that everything that happens is connected, it's interesting to figure out where things are going. For example, why would she be talking about poisonous plants if such plants don't reappear later in the novel? In a similar fashion, with a limited number of characters and the obvious plot device of a red herring (a false lead/suspect) it was a little obvious who the ends up chasing Aphra through the jungle. This, though, didn't detract from the novel. The author does a good job of making the story flow and held my attention.

The novel definitely invites you in for the sequel and I think this one is worth the a shot if you like mysteries. Not entirely serious at all times (definitely more serious than Bad Kitty) the book was enjoyable because it meets one's needs for a thriller and a sense of seriousness while still keeping things light.

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