The Keys to the Vault
A Caroline Baker Mystery by Jim Colombo
Review: Jim Colombo introduces Chicago commodities trader Caroline Baker in The Keys to the Vault, a book that reads more like a fantasy/adventure tale than a novel of mystery/suspense.
Caroline is filling her sports car with gas when she is approached by a stranger, S. Bentley "Ben" Parker, who needs a lift into Chicago. Ordinarily, she tells him, she didn't give rides to strangers, but her intuition tells her he's harmless, so yes, she will take him to Chicago. It turns out that he needs more than a ride, he needs her help in retrieving a sensitive file from his office concerning a woman named Claudia Seiffert who is a person of interest in some suspicious criminal activity. Caroline, always up for a bit of intrigue, agrees to get the file knowing that if Claudia became aware that Caroline had the file, she would be in grave danger. It takes Caroline just 35 minutes to locate Ben's office, find the file, and return to her car, only to find Ben missing. She takes the file home and it reads like an international spy thriller. But that's only the beginning. She soon finds herself in London and Paris, in the midst of a love affair which endangers her life, and trying to prevent the collapse of the worldwide banking system.
The real problem with The Keys to the Vault is that it is all just too unbelievable, even for what is arguably escapist entertainment. No rational woman would do what Caroline does, and even if the reader assumes Caroline temporarily takes leave of her senses for a chance at adventure, there's still the question of why. At one point she asks herself a most rhetorical question, "Am I crazy?" For the story to be even slightly credible, Caroline has to be grounded in some way, have a focal point upon which the plot can evolve. And that's missing.
To be fair, The Keys to the Vault is a quick and easy read, and for those willing to suspend reality for an hour or two, it can be fun. But more likely than not, readers will be rolling their eyes or shaking their head in disbelief at the antics of Caroline Baker.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Keys to the Vault.
Acknowledgment: Jim Colombo provided a copy of The Keys to the Vault for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Keys to the Vault: Chicago, Illinois
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The Keys to the Vault by Jim Colombo — A Caroline Baker Mystery
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing
Publication Date: January 2009
List Price: $25.50
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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