Friday, December 28, 2007

Skate Crime - Alina Adams

Skate Crime
A Figure Skating Mystery
Alina Adams
Berkley Prime Crime


At 25, Bex Levy, researcher for the 24/7 sports network, has high hopes of becoming a producer. So, when her boss calls her to ask her to take over for an absent segment producer, she jumps at the chance. She’ll be flying to Colorado to tape an interview of Lucien Pryce, a skating legend with fifty years of experience to his credit; first as a champion skater, now as a renowned coach. But first, there’s the little matter of the other proposal made to Bex on the same day. Her boyfriend, Craig, asked her to marry him. Bex decides to take the week in Colorado to mull over that little development.

Bex picks up Lucien at his home, and takes him to the Olympic Training Center to film some b-roll of the great skater on the ice, still graceful in spite of his advancing age. There, she meets his former pairs partner, Toni. As the two women chat, and the great man takes the ice, he appears to bobble, then falls. He remains on the ice, unmoving, as Toni races to him and Bex runs for a phone. But it’s too late. Lucien is dead long before the ambulance arrives. Bex is sure that foul play is involved, but everyone else wants to write it off as a freak accident. While researching her story on Lucien’s life, she finds that there are plenty of people in Lucien’s past – and present – who might have a motive for murder.

SKATE CRIME is written in chapters that alternate between Bex in the present, and Lucien and various others in the past. Each of the ‘past’ chapters introduces another in the cast of characters who might have had a motive to do in the great Lucien Pryce. In the skating world, emotions often run high, and there’s more than enough motive to cast a wide net of suspicion. The subplot involving Bex and Craig, for my money, simply takes time away from the skating world, which is far more interesting. The outcome of both the mystery and the marriage proposal are always in doubt, until the author resolves them on the final pages.

The unique way in which this novel is constructed, coupled with the obvious insider knowledge that author Alina Adams brings to the table, makes this one a standout in an always-entertaining series. Reading the previous novels (DEATH DROP, AXEL OF EVIL, ON THIN ICE, MURDER ON ICE) is not necessary before reading this one, but if you’re a fan of skating, mysteries, or both, you won’t want to miss them.

Rating: 8
December 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21803-7 (paperback)


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