3 out of 4 stars
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Imagine you signed up for a weekend getaway art workshop at a lovely resort. You are excited to escape from your stalker ex-boyfriend and just relax. Unfortunately, the creepy ex shows up at the resort. On top of that, you are intensely attracted to a man married to another artist attending the workshop. Oh, and a dead body is found on the beach. Sounds relaxing, huh?
This is the opening setup for Paint Her Dead by Wanda Shelton. It’s a great mystery with action and light romance thrown in. As Leah, the main character, soon finds out, Nate, the man she is attracted to, is actually an unmarried FBI agent who was sent undercover to the art workshop to track an art thief. The woman who is killed was also working for the FBI. How is her murder connected to the case? What did she find out that led to her demise? Where is her missing laptop that holds all the clues? How is Leah’s ex involved? Who else is in danger? All of these questions create a plot filled with twists and action.
The author has a pleasant writing style and the plot flows smoothly. The characters are well developed and believable for the most part. The reader gets a clear view of each character’s looks and personality. However, there were a few glitches with the plot. For instance, I found it hard to believe that the cottages at the resort would not lock from outside. I have never heard of a hotel where you leave your room open when you leave. There are places where the unlocked doors were necessary to the plot, but I still found it unrealistic. Also, I was shocked when Nate told Leah’s friend about his FBI cover. No agent would risk compromising the case by doing that. Lastly, over halfway through the book, a couple characters make some remarks about faith and prayer. I admire the author for wanting to include religious belief in the story, but none of these characters showed these characteristics earlier. It felt thrown in.
These relatively small foibles did not mar my experience reading the book. The plot was engaging and the resolution of the case was satisfying. I especially appreciated the way the author included romance without any explicit scenes.
I am rating this book 3 out of 4 stars for the great action and mystery. I am taking away one point for the few plot missteps and the above average number of editing errors I found including one character whose name is spelled two different ways. I believe most mystery lovers will find reading this book enjoyable and engaging.
Paint Her Dead
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