Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Killing by the Sea (A By the Sea Mystery #2)

Author:  Kathleen Bridge
Genre:  Mystery

Digital Book
ASIN #:  B078QS9BD9
Lyrical Underground Publishing
269 Pages
$4.99 Amazon
September 25, 2018


Trading the urban sprawl of Manhattan for the tranquility and exotic beauty of a Florida barrier island was the best decision author Liz Holt ever made. What could be more ideal for relaxing, regrouping, and getting a writer’s creative juices flowing than observing life at the unconventional hotel that has been in Liz’s family for generations? But it’s death that grips the island when a body sweeps in on the tide . . .

The victim was a member of a fishing crew lost at sea who may or may not have drowned. Despite the corpse in their crosshairs, the staff of the Indialantic by the Sea Hotel and Emporium continues its plans for its first annual Pirates’ Weekend. But things go further awry when both a hurricane and a killer leave a trail of destruction. Liz and her new boyfriend must figure out who’s behind the carnage before they also end up in Davy Jones’ locker . . .


Liz Holt has returned to Melbourne, Florida after a disastrous breakup and is now living happily in the home of her childhood, the Indialantic by the Sea hotel with her father and great-aunt Amelia.  She's also at the beginning of a new relationship with ex-firefighter and arson investigator Ryan Stone, who's moved here to help his grandfather run the deli at the hotel's emporium.

When everything at last seems to be going swimmingly for Liz, she sees a body on the beach and discovers it's the nephew of another emporium tenant, Minna, also a friend of Liz's.  It's more tragic when it's discovered that Dylan was murdered, not merely fallen overboard the ship he was on, which is what everyone thought.  But who would want to kill the young man who was also a budding photographer?  While there is no dearth of suspects, it's not going to be easy to figure it out.  Yet that's what Liz and Ryan have decided to do, even if they have to do it on the down low, since the lead detective also happens to be Liz's father's girlfriend, and has warned them away.

But when Minna's house is set on fire and Dylan's belongings have been rifled through, Liz is sure there's more to the story and wants to find out the real reason Dylan was killed, and if the killer didn't find what they were looking for, maybe she and Ryan can find it first...

I have to say that I really struggled with this book.  I've said many times before that I'm a great believer in details, and there were several inconsistencies and things that didn't make any sense, which are in spoilers below:

This is the second book in the series but I felt that it was mainly centered on 1) Aunt Amelia's exploits; 2) Romance; 3) The mystery; when the mystery should have been #1 and Aunt Amelia should have been #3.  We learn a lot about Amelia's TV shows, and almost everyone has a romantic interest; but Liz never gets close to danger and there's no nail-biting moments at all; it's more romance than mystery, and more Aunt Amelia than romance.

The worst thing is we're still not told the entire story of what happened to Liz to cause the scar on her face (although we're getting closer to finding out) and then it’s added in that we don't know what is going on with Susannah - why she's there and too broke to pay her way.  (She's also pretty arrogant in telling Liz she needs to put her phone on vibrate.  What business is it of hers?).  So now there are two things that should be explained and haven’t been done so:  what happened to Liz, and why is Susannah living at the hotel?

At the end, I struggled with the mystery, mainly because it was broken up so much by everything else going on that it seemed almost an afterthought; this wasn’t really a mystery at all, even if there was a murder; it was a book about Aunt Amelia and her career and exploits, with a “murder lite” thrown in. I really didn't care about the victim because not a lot was said about him, and I didn't see why Liz was even investigating because Charlotte isn't an inept detective and the police were doing their job.  It just seemed 'off' to me.

I give three stars for the writing which was very good, but as you can read, I had a difficult time with this book, and I'm sorry for that.  The reasons why are written above, and again, I am really sorry that I just couldn't get into the book.  I'm a big believer in paying attention to details, and there was just so much missing for me.

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