Sunday, May 8, 2016

Double Knot (A Davis Way Crime Caper #5)

Author:  Gretchen Archer
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook, Audiobook
ISBN #:  9781635110326, 9781635110296
268 Pages
$31.95, $15.95, $6.99, $24.99
April 12, 2016
Five Stars

Super spy Davis Way sets sail on a Caribbean cruise aboard the MS Probability with fifty billionaires, a boatload of Louis Vuitton luggage, Anderson Cooper, and her mother.  (Her mother?)  The weather is perfect, the seas are calm, and Suite 704 is spectacular.  Until the door slams shut.  For good.  Obviously, it's a system glitch.  Surely someone will show up to free Davis, Miss Hawaii, and the creepy staff.  But when the minutes turn to hours and the hours stretch into a day, Davis knows it's up to her.  With $50,000 in casino chips, a pot roast, and a crash course in banking, she races against the clock to determine why they're being held, stop the people behind it, and find a way out.  Secrets are revealed, antiquities are destroyed, and they're running out of dishes.  It's mayday on Probability when Davis Way realizes that only the truth will set her free.


Davis Way Cole is a security expert for the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.  She is also a 'body double' for the casino's owner, Bianca Sanders.  At present, both Davis and Bianca are both pregnant - Bianca ready to give birth and Davis pregnant with twins.  Since Bianca and Davis can also be taken for twins, it is Davis's current job in that she impersonate Bianca aboard the newest - and largest- luxury cruise ship (not a boat) ever.  The Probability was built for billionaires, with only fifty staterooms - very lush staterooms.  Everything is controlled electronically through V2 remotes, which carry everyone's personal information and are operable by a thumbprint.  They are not interchangeable.  They are the only thing that will allow anyone to move about the ship easily.  They have each person's private information on them.  And if you lose it, you will be taken off the ship.  Immediately.

So when Davis (Bianca) enters her private stateroom - which is more like a very large condo, actually, with bedrooms, salon, kitchen, pool, servants' quarters, etc., she and her traveling companions are amazed at how large it is.   Shortly after settling in, her power becomes disabled, and she is trapped - along with her mother Caroline, her work partner Fantasy, a butler, stateroom attendant, ship hostess Jessica DeLuna, and her (deaf) cat Anderson Cooper.

Things are not looking up when they lose power and Davis thinks it is merely a computer glitch and will be fixed shortly.  But then Davis receives a photo of her boss Jeremy, being held prisoner, and she realizes that she's being also held hostage for a reason.  She also comes to the realization that one of the people trapped with her is on the other side and there to make sure she doesn't try to escape...

Being in close quarters with her (hyper-critical) mother and (whiny) Jessica (whom everyone hates)  isn't helping either her or Fantasy try to figure out how to escape their floating prison and free their boss, but which one?  She's also determined to keep this from her mother, who is recovering from a cancer scare.  Yet Davis and Fantasy know that they're running against the clock to find out who is holding them and why...

This book was an absolute delight to read.  Ms. Archer weaves a tidy tale of intrigue aboard a futuristic luxury liner, one in which Davis must use all her skills in order to find a route of escape without endangering those dear to her.  We also see a side of Davis that we have not seen before, and it gives her a little more humanity, which makes her a little more real.

I was enthralled by the descriptions of the ship itself, and quite pleased with how tightly knit a narrative it was; everything seeming not only possible but believable.  With Davis not only going "old school" in order to save her friends, but also using her computer skills to the max, it kept me riveted in the story from practically the beginning to the end.

I also love the fact that Davis tells the story in her own (sarcastic) way, with little asides to her audience that are quite hilarious at times.  There is one ongoing subplot with Davis and Fantasy that involves dishes which is extremely funny, and when her mother gets in on the action it becomes even funnier.  In fact, all the little subplots (involving the dishes, Jessica, Caroline's drinking, and even a Chinese antique) are all fodder for jokes.

With much of the action taking place in a stateroom (albeit a very large stateroom), Ms. Archer has proven she can take a cast of characters, keep them in one place, and still make an interesting story go a long way.  She has a flair for both telling a complex tale while managing to add plenty of humor.  When the story finally ends, it is completely satisfying.  Everything comes together just as it should, and it leaves one anticipating the next in the series.  Highly recommended.

More on Gretchen Archer's books:                                                                    

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