I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Killing Time by Suzanne Trauth on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!
Killing Time (A Dodie O’Dell Mystery)
6th in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Press (June 2, 2020)
Number of Pages: 215
Digital ASIN: B07W8ZX8JV
With Halloween just around the corner, Dodie O’Dell is making preparations to transform the Windjammer Restaurant on the Jersey Shore into a haunted house, while the Etonville Little Theatre is staging Dracula. But casting the titular Transylvanian is proving challenging. The amateur actors in the company are not shy about chewing the scenery, but who among them can convincingly sink their fangs into a victim’s neck? When a mysterious newcomer with a transfixing Eastern European accent lands the part, rumors that he might be an actual vampire start to take flight—not unlike the bat who’s recently been spotted in the town park.
But everyone’s blood really runs cold when a stranger is found in the cemetery with a real stake in his heart. Dodie decides to put her Halloween theme menu on the back burner and stick her neck out to bring the killer into the light of day. She’d better keep her wits about her, though—or Dodie may be the next one to go down for the Count . . .
“It sure looks haunted,” Edna murmured to no one in particular, to the cast of Dracula in general. They were grouped around her on the sidewalk that ran past the old Hanratty place that Carlos and Bella had rented. I’d never been inside though once I’d driven by it when I first moved to Etonville on my way out of town. The house stood on half an acre of scruffy lawn with patches of dried dirt, surrounded by a few straggly trees—minus leaves at this time of the year—and no neighbors. The nearest houses were on a side street some distance away. The three-story building looked as if it might collapse at any moment, its outer walls covered with weathered, gray shakes, the steps to the front door supported by concrete building blocks. There was no handrail. Light leaked out of windows on the first floor. Curtains covering small, circular panes on the third story—an attic room?—quivered. Was someone up there watching us? I shivered. A turret rose upward from the right side of the structure, giving the house a smidge of outdated dignity. A drain pipe dangled loosely from the gutter.
“Let’s go.” Penny corralled actors and nudged everyone forward to the front door. There were six company members, Renfield saying he’d be along later, plus Penny, Lola, Pauli, and me. Strength in numbers.
We crept across the porch cautiously, aware of the creaking beneath us as the flooring shifted with each individual’s footsteps. Penny put out a hand to knock on the door. Before she could hit knuckles to wood, it flew open. “Welcome everyone!” Bella stood in the doorway, a silhouette backlit by muted foyer lighting.
Behind her Carlos stood silently, observing the group huddled in his entryway, like deer caught in headlights.
Lola took the lead, moving graciously into the house. “Thank you. So nice of you to invite us to your home.”
I’m not sure what the members of the Etonville Little Theatre were expecting. Given the exterior and location of the Hanratty homestead, I anticipated something out of a late-night classic horror film.
Fall is closing in, Halloween is upon the town of Etonville and the Etonville Little Theatre has decided on running with Dracula. They have a great new actor who is playing Dracula as if he is one–his wife and the cast party at their old, creepy home part of the mystique. Problem is, someone in a Grim Reaper costume is found in the local cemetery with what appears to be a stake through his heart. This definitely carries the whole Halloween production too far.
Dodie O’Dell is manager of the Windjammer Restaurant on the Jersey Shore. Because of the season and the scheduled play, they are very busy in the restaurant promoting a theme menu. She definitely has a capable chef in the kitchen and bar and restaurant staff are more friends than employees. But this one strikes too close for comfort and she’ll have to “look into it.” Not the first time she’s taken on sleuthing duties.
Dodie is also engaged to the local police chief, Bill, and while not having reservations about him, is dragging her feet getting into the whole wedding planning thing with BFF Lola. So distracting herself with the current mystery is not too difficult.
In the meantime, we are introduced to the restaurant regulars, the town’s recurring characters, and some description of the area and contiguous small villages.
It’s a cozy mystery. They do tend to begin a bit slow for me. I’m as bad as the next mystery reader waiting anxiously for something to happen. Dodie has a fine way, however, of handling the restaurant while beginning with questions surrounding the details of the victim’s death then zeroing in on the weirdly perceived Dracula actor.
As Dodie begins sifting through clues and building on instinct, the reader is treated with the eccentricities of some of her closest buddies, Edna the police dispatcher who speaks in code–police code–and Penny who enjoys famous quotes, but always gets them wrong.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you live longer.”
Not character-driven really, as Dodie makes steady progress with her investigation and interviews, but the characters really start growing on you. The description of the restaurant setting is easy to imagine and becomes warm and comfortable with the smells of the kitchen wafting into the dining area.
Dodie’s quandary regarding Bill isn’t really hammered out until the conclusion (but then very satisfactorily), and the climax ramps up the excitement considerably with a real surprise you probably didn’t see coming. (Well, okay, I didn’t.) The sixth in the Dodie O’Dell mystery series, this can function fine as a standalone, and is certainly a series with premise and characters you’ll enjoy.
I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley for this book tour and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to read and review. Recommended cozy mystery.
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Four-point Five of Five Stars
About The Author: Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.
Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!
May 19 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
May 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 20 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
May 21 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
May 22 – Laura’s Interests– CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 22 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
May 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners– CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 23 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
May 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
May 25 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 25 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST
May 27 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
May 28 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW
May 29 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
May 30 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW
May 31 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
May 31 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 1 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!
©2020 V Williams