Go to Homepage   Beth Sherman: Death at High Tide


Avon Books (Paperback), ISBN: 0-380-73108-8
Quaint Oceanside Heights, a small Christian-family-retreat/Jersey Shore town considers the cast and production crew of the movie Dark Horizons the spawn of the devil. Sex kitten Mallory Loving's ex-husband and director designed the film as Mallory's comeback vehicle and even wrote in a cameo for Mallory's current husband, a fading rockstar. Shocked and scandalized by such goings-on, the locals condemn the film company from street corner and pulpit, even as they cash the company's checks and make a killing leasing the local church as a film location.  

Book: Beth Sherman, Death at High TideAnne Hardaway, hired to ghost Mallory's biography, finds the job a trial. Mallory prefers dropping sizzling bombshells to an audience to submitting to Anne's research questions. So Anne interviews Mallory's sister, who lives modestly in a nearby town. From Mallory's sister, Anne learns about the poverty, sexual and physical abuse that Mallory escaped. Mallory's sister wasn't so lucky, and it made her bitter and vindictive. 

Already millions in the red because of Mallory's antics, the film's budget suffers further when someone begins vandalizing the company's equipment. Then things really start to heat up. Mallory receives vicious hate mail and disappears, only to resurface as a corpse. 

Anne would prefer to catch the next plane to Italy and join her boyfriend, but she's got a book to write and an impossible deadline to meet. And the police believe she wrote herself into the script as the murderer. 

Book: Beth Sherman, Dead Man's FloatDeath at High Tide features a sound, tightly woven plot. Sherman knows her shore town setting inside out, and draws believable and well-developed characters.  

But the book lacks a cozy feel. It offers very little in the way of humor, and Anne doesn't like much of anything. I kept wondering why Anne stayed in Oceanside Heights when she disliked it so much. She dislikes most of what the town stands for, dislikes a majority of the residents, dislikes most of her biography subjects. I wanted to like Anne, but her few enthusiasms -- jelly donuts, her banker friend, writing and her boyfriend -- simply didn't give me enough to work with. 

Suzanne Frisbee

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