After Eden Elliott survived her personal year from hell, her best friend and successful romance author Ami Pederson handed her a round-trip ticket to Scotland with the return in six months. Ami told her to fly, experience the setting of Eden's own proposed romance novel and the land of her father's ancestors. And, on the flight to her new adventure, Eden makes a friend, Vicki MacBride, who's also on her way to the small village of Glenkillen. Vicki's returning to her childhood home after inheriting her father's estate. But, both women will have an unexpected welcome to the Scottish Highlands.
Eden's visit starts with the horror of her rental car, and she's kicking it in frustration when handsome Leith Cameron rescues her and invites her to the funeral for James MacBride. Vicki doesn't feel welcome because her half sister inherited nothing, although she and her husband ran the estate. And, then Eden and Vicki stumble across a body. Eden, who went to Scotland to relax and write, is stunned. "I'd barely arrived and here I was, stumbling across a murder victim, getting involved with the local police, and ordered in no uncertain terms to remain in Glenkillen. How had this happened?"
Hannah Reed's Off Kilter impresses me for a number of reasons. Eden is a mature woman, thirty-eight, whose actions in the course of this book are not stupid. She turns information over to the police, calls them, and does not make stupid moves. Then, there's the murder victim, a local man who will be missed by everyone. The victim is not forgotten in the course of the investigation. The police officer in charge of the investigation, Inspector Kevin Jamieson, is a shrewd, methodical detective, not a buffoon. There are hints of a romance with a sexy Scot, a kind man with a sense of humor. And, of course, there's that gorgeous setting, used to full effect, even in the climatic scene.
Off Kilter provides an escape into an exotic location with an admirable amateur sleuth. After reading Hannah Read's outstanding mystery, you'll want to escape to the Scottish Highlands.
Hannah Reed's website is www.hannahreedbooks.com
Off Kilter by Hannah Reed. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425265826 (paperback), 295p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.