A CHRISTMAS PERIL by J. A. Hennrikus

A CHRISTMAS PERIL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ex-cop Edwina “Sully” Sullivan struggles to keep a ragtag theater company afloat while working with her ex-husband to solve a murder in this series debut from Hennrikus, who’s also written as Julianne Holmes (Clock and Dagger, 2016, etc.).

Orphaned, divorced, and sidelined from the force, Sully’s returned to her hometown, a picturesque Massachusetts coastal community, to manage a local theater company. To make ends meet during the off season, the troupe is performing A Christmas Carol, but the big-name star brought in as Scrooge to boost ticket sales is too drunk to learn his cues. In the midst of the chaos, Sully learns that a distant relation has died. Peter Whitehall was rich, powerful, and ruthless, so it’s no great wonder that someone wanted to kill him. What’s surprising is that they shot him in his own study, and security camera footage indicates that the murderer could only have been a member of the Whitehall household. Desperate to keep the matter in the family, Peter’s daughter Emma asks Sully to take the case. The new Whitehall family lawyer is Sully’s ex-husband, Gus, and he looks as good to her as ever. The two of them work together to uncover embezzling and crack the case even after their top suspect turns up dead, because, of course, the show must go on.

Despite its title, blessedly light on the holiday trimmings. But the backstage antics, the second-act romance, the hard-boiled back story, the family drama, and the tourist-town backdrop are too many disparate elements that never gel. Unsatisfying and forgettable.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-7387-5415-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2017




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