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by Judy Clemens

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59058-918-2
Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Would you want Death as your sidekick, even if you were on the run?

Since losing her husband and child in a fiery car crash, Casey Maldonado has been hunted by the Pegasus car company and forced to kill a thug in self-defense (Embrace the Grim Reaper, 2008, etc). Now she’s settled down, at least temporarily, as Daisy Gray, the new fitness instructor at The Flamingo, an upscale living complex in Raceda, Fla. The only person, or thing, or aura, who knows her real story is Death, who hovers at her side sarcastically kibitzing. Before her first day of employment is over, Andrea, a resident, lies dying in the gym shower room; Andrea’s best friend Krystal has started a petition asking for the ouster of Daisy, whom she accuses of murder; and gossip smears the two previous fitness instructors, Richie and Brandon, pronouncing one cute but incompetent and the other sexy but inclined to prey on lonely singles. Egged on by Death, Daisy goes into full sleuth mode, chatting up the complex’s manager and her assistant, the water-aerobics instructor, the barman, anyone who signs up for her fitness classes and a powerfully built Amazon who turns the tables on her by introducing her to her sensei, Asuhara, who gently elicits Daisy’s real identity as Casey. All the while, Death flits in and out, leaving icy drafts to mark his presence, and a cop who reminds Daisy of her dead husband activates her hormones. The climactic scene finds Death returning from somewhere else in time to join Casey for another departure.

Death is annoying, and Clemens steamrolls her plot to an abrupt conclusion in the last few pages, but Casey is bearable in small doses.