Thursday, October 15, 2015

Trick or Deceit by Shelley Freydont

No town observes holidays the way Celebration Bay, New York, does. The residents pull out all the stops. This time, though, in Shelley Freydont's Trick or Deceit, someone wants to ruin Halloween. A vandalized haunted house is one thing. But, event planner Liv Montgomery draws the line at murder.

Liv is already nervous. An old friend, Jonathan Preston, is on his way to town to check it out for possible funding from a philanthropic foundation. The fate of the town's community center is in his hands. But, when the Museum of Haunted Horrors is vandalized, Liv fears the house won't be able to open for the town's Halloween celebration. But, it's worse than she thought. In the nearby overgrown lot, amongst the scattered mannequin parts, is the body of one of the judges from the haunted house contest. One haunted house ruined; the owner of another is a suspect. What will Jonathan think about Celebration Bay when he arrives in town? Now, Liv is angry "that somebody trashed all of Barry's hard work, jeopardized the community center's future, and murdered one of the judges." And, the entire town turns to her to fix the problem.

Any reader can understand Liv Montgomery's motivation. The townspeople have grown to trust this newcomer, although she's only been in town for a year. "She planned all the major events in town. They came to her for all the problems associated with the events and more. They expected her to solve problems - all problems."

Freydont has created an appealing, quirky town where the residents celebrate every day and every holiday. Murder is never acceptable, but it truly disrupts the atmosphere in Celebration Bay. And, the author surrounds her amateur sleuth with a cast of supportive characters, who can be exasperating and, maybe, a little too protective for Liv's taste.

Welcome to Celebration Bay in Shelley Freydont's Trick or Deceit. It's the perfect setting, the perfect sleuth, and the perfect holiday, for a mystery.

Shelley Freydont's website is

Trick or Deceit by Shelley Freydont. Berkley Prime Crime. 2015. ISBN 9780425281475 (paperback),  296p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

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