Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dying Brand (An Allison Campbell Mystery Book 3)

Author:  Wendy Tyson
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars

When Image Consultant Allison Campbell attends an awards ceremony to honor a designer friend, she's thrust into a murder investigation.  Only this time, it's personal.

A former boyfriend is dead, slain on the streets of Philadelphia. His widow claims he was meeting with Allison, yet Allison hadn't spoken to him in years. Nothing about his death—or life—makes sense. When compromising photos from their past arrive at Allison’s office, they raise more questions than they answer.

Driven to find justice, Allison deconstructs the image her ex had created for himself, looking for clues about the man he’d become. As her hunt for the truth unveils secrets, Allison’s past and present collide—with deadly results.


Allison Campbell is a successful Image Consultant.  She helps people not only look good for the job they either have or want to have, but helps them with their personal well-being; learning how to act, breathe, feel confident, etc.

While attending a former client's award dinner, she receives an odd text from the wife of an old client - and ex-lover.  It seems Scott Fairweather has died, murdered - and his widow, Leah, wants to know why Allison's name was on his calendar for that day.  She is convinced that Allison has continued her affair with Scott (even though it was ended before Scott married,) and nothing Allison says is convincing her otherwise.

But now Allison is curious as to why.  And if she wasn't sure she wanted to get involved, she soon receives an unmarked manila envelope with photos inside - photos of her and Scott in compromising positions.  Photos, that if leaked, could cause serious problems in her relationship with Jason, her ex-husband and current love.

Although Jason and Allison are divorced, they're still deeply in love and planning a new future together, although right now they're still in the 'planning stages.'  Allison had a short fling with Scott when she was newly separated, and since it's been several years since she saw him, doesn't understand why her name would be on his calendar.

Allison finds out that Scott's death was highly suspicious, and highly out of character for him, so she starts investigating on her own, and things begin to heat up.  She starts digging for the truth, and soon finds herself in a tunnel that she may not be able to find her way out of.

The more she digs, the thicker the walls seem to be; and when she receives another envelope with more pictures, she's even more sure that Scott's death wasn't as random as the police seem to think it was - a drug deal gone bad.

With the help of Vaughn, her business manager and friend, his brother Jamie, her computer expert, and Mia, Jason's mother, Allison is discovering that Scott may have been in over his head, and some things are better left alone.  Even warnings to stay out of it by both friends and enemies, Allison presses on, and by the time she finds out what she's been searching for, it may be too late to save even herself.

I also enjoyed the fact that the personal lives of not only Allison and Jason are taken into new territory, but the lives of others in her circle are affected in their lives as well.  For while Allison is trying to navigate her life with Jason yet keeping him from finding out about Scott, her absent sister Amy appears with a problem of her own and needs Allison's help.  It is here that we find out more about Allison as a human being, and how she deals with personal problems, regardless of the outcome.

As the third book in the Allison Campbell mysteries, it can be read as a stand-alone, but I also recommend you read the first two, Killer Image and Deadly Assets.  A first-class mystery and welcome addition to the series.  Kudos to Ms. Tyson.  Highly recommended.

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