This is the last book review of the year. I still have a post featuring my favorite books of 2013, and the New Year's Eve post, so there's only time for one more book review. I'm back to work tomorrow after six days off for Christmas, so it's perfect that I end the review year with the last Christmas mystery, Shelley Freydont's Silent Knife.
Liv Montgomery left the bright lights of Manhattan behind to take a job as event planner for Celebration Bay, New York. It's her first Christmas celebration, and she wants everything to go perfectly for the townspeople and the tourists. Before she can even watch all the shops on the square turn on their lights, though, she has trouble. Someone decided to permanently turn out the lights on Santa Claus.
Oh, it's not the town's Santa Claus, and that's part of the problem. One store in town was in violation of all the store agreements, and of all places, it was Trim a Tree, the Christmas store. The new tenant had turned a once attractive store into a gimmicky disaster, and none of the other merchants were happy. Then, when she hired a Santa, in violation of the town's agreement there would only be one Santa, Hank Ousterhout, Hank went on the rampage. He'd had that job for twelve years, and no fake Santa was going to ruin Celebration Bay's Christmas observances. Unfortunately, the murder of a fake Santa could easily upset all the merchants, and threaten the success of the Christmas season. And, what's worse is that Hank, the town's real Santa, is the number one suspect.
Shelley Freydont's holiday mysteries are perfect for seasonal reading. The stories have a background of town festivals, and a great cast featuring Liv Montgomery, her assistant, Ted, her Westie, Whiskey, and the other residents of Celebration Bay. And, Freydont's amateur sleuth has a sound reason for poking around. As the event planner for the town, it's her job to ensure that all the festivals run smoothly. Liv Montgomery is not going to let a murder ruin Celebration Bay's festivities and economy.
But, I like Liv for another reason. Her job may depend on the success of the celebrations, but she never forgets about the victims or the people involved. Liv is an ideal amateur sleuth who truly cares about the people of Celebration Bay.
There's never a bad time to read a Christmas mystery. I may be a little late reviewing Shelley Freydont's Silent Knife, but there's always a season to enjoy in Celebration Bay. Even if you set this one aside for next year, you'll want to include it in a Christmas mystery collection. After all, you do want to know what happens to Santa Claus, don't you?
Shelley Freydont's website is www.shelleyfreydont.com
Silent Knife by Shelley Freydont. Berkley Prime Crime. 2013. ISBN 9780425252383 (paperback), 298p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.