The Price of Candy
Review: Law student Sandy Reid is drawn into the case of a missing girl, Jamie, whose mother, Abby, is arrested for the murder of a man she claimed was her cyberstalker — but the dead man turns out to be Bruce Banks, the man who was Sandy and Abby's abusive counselor when they were in juvenile rehab together years ago — in The Price of Candy, the second mystery in this series by Rod Hoisington.
When Abby is released on bail, she seems strangely unconcerned about her missing daughter. Sandy, on the other hand, is frantic. She believes Abby — and possibly her alleged cyberstalker — is involved in internet porn and wants to protect Jamie from any potential harm. But how does Bruce Banks enter into the picture, a man who was now living in Pennsylvania, far from the scene of his death in Florida? Sandy's investigation to find Jamie turns soon becomes personal when she, herself, is arrested as an accessory to the Banks murder, and must find evidence to clear her own name.
The breezy, fast-paced narrative of The Price of Candy is suggestive of a cozy-style murder mystery — but that is not the case here. It is, rather, an edgy, if overly complicated — and unnecessarily so — amateur sleuth investigation with multiple plot threads that don't always mesh well. The book opens with an intriguing chapter that includes this sentence: "Only the murmur of the ocean disturbed the quietness. On that secluded beach, cast in the slanted shadows of the sunset, were two men and a woman. The two men were alive." Unfortunately, this promising plot premise is largely set aside until about the midpoint of the novel, where it intersects with Sandy's murder/missing child investigation, which itself is drawn out far too long with little to show for it. The structural plot problems with the book are amplified by abrupt, seemingly random, mid-chapter shifts in characters and setting, with little more than a transitional sentence to connect them. Finally, it's not altogether believeable that Sandy, though personable but still just a law student with no professional credentials, receives all the inside information she does from the authorities.
Acknowledgment: Rod Hoisington provided a copy of The Price of Candy for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
One Deadly Sister
EnteraBooks (Trade Paperback), September 2009
ISBN-13: 9780615298528; ISBN-10: 0615298524
Location(s) referenced in The Price of Candy: Florida
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The Price of Candy by Rod Hoisington — A Sandy Reid Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: January 2011
List Price: $14.95