3 out of 4 stars
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Paint Her Dead is a murder mystery written by Wanda Shelton. The main character, Leah Dawson, is very excited to attend an art workshop in Maine and have a fun week of painting, relaxing, and eating gourmet food. She is also happy to get away from her creepy ex-boyfriend, John Phelps, who has been stalking her after she dumped him. At the workshop, Leah meets Nate Parker, who is actually a single undercover FBI agent looking to catch an art thief. Leah is immediately drawn to him, and the attraction is definitely mutual. However, his cover is that he’s married and is attending the art workshop with his supposed wife. Leah is determined to stay away from him because she’s not about to get into a relationship with a married man. She loves the peace and tranquillity at the Rocky Ledge Inn. Unfortunately, the soothing atmosphere dissipates immediately after she walks on the beach near the inn and finds a dead body of a woman who was also attending the art workshop. But, who was this woman really? What did she uncover that led to her death? Who wanted to silence her? How is Leah’s crazy ex-boyfriend involved? Are there more deaths to follow? Find out in this suspenseful and twisted thriller.
I really enjoyed the book’s premise and the plot containing the murder mystery. The story moved at a brisk pace that flowed very naturally. The twists and turns made for an exciting whodunnit story. I liked figuring out who the killer actually was, and there were plenty of suspects. In fact, I did uncover the killer before the big reveal, but it did not ruin the story or the mystery for me at all. I just suspected this character almost from the beginning and happened to be right. The reveal of the killer was well done and satisfying.
I also appreciated that despite the seriousness of the murder mystery, there were still some lighthearted moments and a fun romance between the main characters. They were both very likable and believable in their attraction to each other. They were well-developed characters, and as a reader, I really wanted everything to work out for them in the end.
Unfortunately, not everything in the book worked. I realize that this is a work of fiction, but some things that happened were just illogical. It was really hard to believe that people who stayed at the inn would be fine with the doors to their rooms not locking from the outside. It was especially baffling that this continued after the murder happened. People should have wanted multiple locks on their doors after that. Also, it was very strange how even with an art thief and a murderer on the loose, Leah and all the other characters continued the art workshop. Everyone was in danger of being killed, and their solution was just to continue to paint and hope Nate and the rest of the FBI save everyone. The way people were reacting to certain situations just wasn’t realistic at all.
I’m rating this book 3 out of 4 stars. I really liked the murder mystery and the pacing of the novel. There were twists and action mixed with lighthearted and romantic moments that made the book mostly an engaging and delightful read. The novel was also very professionally edited. I’m taking a star away because there were some elements of the plot and a few reactions of certain characters that weren’t realistic or logical. Still, the story was written well for the most part, and I appreciated that there was a satisfying resolution. I would recommend this book to people who love murder mysteries with a little romance thrown in.
Paint Her Dead
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