Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Masked to Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery #5)

Author:  Christina Freeburn
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9781635111408; 9781635111378
Henery Press
238 Pages
$31.95; $15.95; $4.99 Amazon
January 24, 2017


A Caribbean cruise is the perfect setting for a Roget wedding, and Faith meeting Ted's family.  She also hopes the vacation gets their stalled romance moving, but it doesn't take long for that dream to capsize.  Ted's daughter hates her.  The ex-wife is adored.  Odessa Roget is surly.  And the banned father of a groom, John Roget, requests Faith's assistance in bringing down a jewel theft ring masterminded by his ex-wife.  Having had a man she loved accuse her of a crime, Faith won't let Odessa travel down the same path and agrees to help.  Faith sets her course on uncovering the true criminals - which might be a groom's best friend.  The romantic week turns disastrous as a wedding is interrupted, suspicious deaths point to murders, and Ted's daughter schemes to reunite her parents.  Instead of diamonds being a girl's best friend, Faith finds they're cruising toward Davy Jones' Locker.


Faith Hunter is going on her very first cruise - a wedding cruise for her friend Bob Roget and his fiance′ Garrison as a member of their wedding party.  She's also looking forward to spending time with her boyfriend Ted (Bob's brother) and meeting his daughter Claire.  What she doesn't expect is what ensues:  being practically pushed into her stateroom and a dress being forced on her by Quinn, a crew member who tells her she needs to try it on now; and when she retreats to the bathroom to do so, is startled by Ted and Bob's father John Roget, a retired FBI agent who says he needs her help.

With an impatient Quinn outside yelling at her to hurry, and John trying to explain that there's jewel thieves on board and he needs her aid - because one of the suspects is Odessa - Faith barely has time to breathe.  But thinking fast, she agrees, if only to prove Odessa isn't guilty.

When Faith meets a shipboard performer named Ronnie who is Garrison's friend and also in the wedding party, she thinks she's found a fast friend, since it's apparent early on that Odessa dislikes her, Claire hates her, and Ted is being manipulated by them both leaving him little time for her.  But a series of mishaps befall Faith in which one results in the strap of her dress being torn and a visit to Quinn is needed.  When Ronnie takes her to the crew's quarters - which is taboo for shipboard guests - it isn't long before she realizes Quinn is drunk...and drops dead right in front of her.

Suddenly the dream cruise becomes more of a nightmare, and Faith will have to keep her wits about her if she wants to survive being stuck in rough waters with a killer, jewel thieves, and Roget family members that wish she'd fall overboard...

Masked to Death is the fifth book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mysteries, and in my opinion is the best of the lot.  While the first four books were good, in this one Ms. Freeburn has honed her craft to the point where we truly care about Faith and want the best for her.  It's quite a bit of fun watching Faith try to juggle her obligations to Bob and Garrison and still help John, albeit unwillingly, find a team of jewel thieves before he can pin the crime on Odessa - or at least that's what she thinks he wants to do.  When the crew member dies, Faith isn't convinced it was an accident.  When she discovers more than one person has an interest in a tiara she's supposed to wear for the wedding, and a diamond bracelet goes missing, the hunt for the thieves becomes personal.

This book has mystery and intrigue aplenty, with poor Faith being stuck in the middle of it all.  Odessa is having a major meltdown because plans are going awry, Claire is doing her best to keep Faith away from her dad, John is clandestinely watching her every move, and Faith is stuck on an ocean liner with a killer...

The plot is well done and interesting, proving things aren't always as they appear.  When we finally come to the end of the book (too soon), it all knits together seamlessly and comes as quite a surprise, which is always a good thing.  A true pleasure to read and I look forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended.

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