Georgia Thornton knows that there’s no way she’ll ever be a
member of the SFPD again. Especially not
after appearing on two different Reality TV shows. Still, it’s not all bad. On the first show (A FIRST DATE WITH MURDER
she met Scott, who just may be the love of her life. On the second show (A SECOND CHANCE AT MURDER
shot on location in Spain, Scott sustained a traumatic head injury. Now physically healed and home, Georgia and
Scott will be partners on a third show, back in California, called “Cold Case
in the Castle.” On this show, five teams
of two will attempt to solve the decades-old murder of a young woman who worked
at the “castle” when it was used as a reform school.
For Georgia, the stakes are higher this time. Producers of an established show are
considering offering her a permanent job as host. The job offer, and new career trajectory, is
contingent on Georgia and Scott either ‘winning’ the show by solving the
mystery, or placing in the top two teams.
The first night, as a storm moves in, a flock of black birds pelt the
property, thrilling the psychic and ghost hunter team, and delighting the
producer to no end. The following
morning, Georgia discovers a body in the empty pool behind the building. It’s the caretaker of the grounds. Production must continue, commands the
producer, so the filming and investigating resumes that afternoon. Almost immediately, accidents begin happening
to the cast. Within a couple of days,
there’s another body.
This is the third installment in this series, and it does
not disappoint. There are enough unexplained/spooky
things that happen during filming to make even skeptic Georgia consider that
the paranormal just might be real. Since
Scott is a horror writer, that might be very interesting direction to explore
in future (I hope) books. The underlying
mystery is interesting, and the investigation of the huge, old house took me
back to being a kid, reading Nancy Drew mysteries.
In the first few chapters, Scott drops a bomb on Georgia:
because of his recent head injury, Scott knows, intellectually, that he and
Georgia are in love; but he doesn’t feel it.
For Georgia, this is a serious shock.
It’s frankly too big a shock to work out over the course of a few days
while filming a reality show. This is the
only element of the story that didn’t work for me. To counter that, though, is the
behind-the-camera chaos of making a reality show for TV. The cast, those in front of the cameras, are
usually pretty eccentric. But I find the
people behind the cameras – the hair and makeup people, the camera operators,
the techs, are quite entertaining. I’d
be happy to see more in this series, but the ending here would wrap things up
nicely, too. I know I’ll be following
this author no matter which way it goes.
ISBN# 978-0-425-27170-4 (paperback)