Hawaii serves as the glamorous backdrop for a murder mystery in Klensch’s second stab at fiction (Live at 10:00, Dead at 10:15, 2004).
New York TV producer Sonya Iverson heads off to Hawaii to perform the prep work on a seemingly innocuous assignment—the opening of a new luxury spa. Sonya is all business as she sets about scouting locations and getting the background story on the spa’s owners, the beautiful and enigmatic Lara Swanson and her hard-driving husband Errol. Sonya’s assignment abruptly changes from puff piece to investigation when Errol is found murdered. In Klensch’s attempts to introduce a bevy of possible suspects, she frenetically jumps from place to place and person to person, giving readers mental whiplash. Klensch unnecessarily convolutes the narrative with too many flashbacks and random leaps of time leading to more confusion than suspense. Thankfully, she finds her rhythm and settles in to tell the dirty truth about Errol’s dark and tortured past. The skeletons in his closet make quite a racket. A dozen people have motive to kill Errol. The prime suspects include: two disgruntled ex-wives, three emotionally ravaged children and a rival for Lara’s affection. Klensch is adept at drawing memorable characters and keeping the pace moving. Sonya wants to scoop the competition on the story by quickly solving the murder, but runs into obstacles. Before Sonya can come up with the killer, it becomes appearant her job at The Donna Fuller Show is on the line. Errol once ran her network. As the network’s leader, he was feared for his ruthlessness and intimidating tactics. His reign of terror continues posthumously as fawning executives struggle to protect his image by covering up unsavory pieces of Errol’s past that could be important clues. The breathless conclusion barrels along with energy as Sonya tries to solve the case and secure her job before the murderer strikes again.
A solid mystery with a pace like a volcanic eruption.