|Bill Crider: A Romantic Way to Die|
Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0-312-20907-X
Vernell Lindsey, Clearview's newest published author, set up the conference with the blessing of the town. The townsfolk grow even more excited when they learn former resident, Terry Don Costlin, headlines for the event. Why? Because Terry Don's the current favorite cover model for romance novels -- you know, a hunk with great pecs, a strong chin, and long hair.
But turbulence abounds in the land of romance and happy-ever-afters. Some of the wannabes cry foul, accusing the fair Vernell of dastardly deeds, such as stealing another author's work. Others display some unromantic jealousy when Terry Don spreads his sexual favors. And Sheriff Dan gets a lot more help than he wants from a couple of novelists who have decided to switch from romance to mystery.
The convoluted plot brings in a lot of the quirky characters from the previous books in the series. But don't worry, if you missed the other books, this one stands alone -- even if it will make you itch to read earlier entries in the series. A Romantic Way to Die displays, with verve and humor, Dan Rhodes's calm and reasoned type of detection. (Even he can't understand why anyone would want to write a novel.)
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the cover. It looks like a standard romance cover, bare-chested male and female in a clinch. But here the male sports a couple of bullet holes that give the impression the cover was shot.
Patria Lucas White
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