Played To Death
A Scott Drayco Mystery by BV Lawson
Review: PI and criminal consultant Scott Drayco is in the Chesapeake Bay community of Cape Unity to meet a local resident, who may be interested in hiring him, and to see an abandoned opera house that he has just inherited from a grateful client, when he discovers a man dead on the main stage of the building, in Played To Death, the first mystery in this series by BV Lawson (though the character has appeared before in short stories).
The dead man turns out to be Oakley Keys, Drayco's would-be new client. Though obviously killed by a gunshot wound to the head, it is the large "G" carved into his chest that captures his attention, and that of the local sheriff, Ernest Sailor, when he shows up a few minutes later. Drayco tells Sailor that he has no idea why Keys might have wanted to see him, but it soon becomes clear that he was one of several residents opposed to further development of their picturesque, if also quite dated, seaside town … and he owned a prime piece of property that would be central to any project. Though Sheriff Sailor doesn't request Drayco's assistance in working the crime, he isn't opposed to having him ask a few questions of the townspeople given Drayco's previous experience with the FBI, which suits Drayco fine as he wants to stay around anyway to learn more about his new property, the historic opera house, where violinist Ivan Ostremsky once played, Ginnie Geddie once sang, and a pianist named Konstantina Klucze, who played her final performance there before her tragic death at a young age.
The storyline in Played To Death is nicely structured, and creatively ties together a contemporary murder mystery with the unexplained death of a prodigy, who once performed at the aging opera house many years ago. Small town settings, with their close-knit community of residents who know everything but always claim otherwise, are often perfect for murder investigations and this one along the Chesapeake Bay shore is ideal, credibly close enough to major cities to once have hosted important events, but now relics of their former glory. It takes a little time to get used to Drayco; he carries around baggage from the past that makes him interesting as a character, but also weighs down the story a bit, especially in the early chapters. Once his investigation gets underway, however, it's smooth sailing (as it were) to a satisfying conclusion. A solid start to this series; readers will be looking forward to Drayco's next outing, which he tells Sheriff Sailor is a decade-old blackmail case.
Acknowledgment: the author provided a copy of Played To Death for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Played To Death: Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
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Played To Death by BV Lawson — A Scott Drayco Mystery
Publisher: Crimetime Press
Publication Date: July 2014
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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