Shadow of Doubt
Review: Rookie radio news reporter Carol Childs's friend and neighbor Samantha Millhouse isn't mourning the loss of her aunt Pepper after she accidentally dies in her bathtub; Sam inherits, and takes over as CEO, the highly regarded talent agency Pepper had run with an iron fist. But Sam's plans are put on hold when Pepper's death is ruled a homicide and Sam becomes the prime suspect, in Shadow of Doubt, the second mystery in this series by Nancy Cole Silverman. (Note: the publisher is marketing this as a first in series, but the author self-published an earlier book with this character, When In Doubt, Don't!)
Carol can't believe Sam had anything to do with Pepper's death. But Pepper is the third employee of American Creative Talent (ACT) to die. The first two were older and their deaths initially ruled by natural causes until the police decide to reopen the cases and discover they were both poisoned, as was Pepper. Worse for Sam, the same poison is found in her home. Sam's twin sister, Sarah, who was cut completely out of Pepper's will, is quick to hit the airwaves and claim that Sam killed their aunt to take over the business. But when two more bodies are found, also employees of ACT, Sam's guilt is in doubt. She would have no motive to kill them … or would she?
The basic storyline of Shadow of Doubt is interesting, as is most of the cast of characters, including Misty Dawn, a self-proclaimed psychic to the stars, who talks to the dead and seems to have an unerring ability to see the future. (This isn't a paranormal mystery per se, so it's not quite clear what to make of Misty's talents here.) But the real problem is with lead character Carol Childs, who comes across as flighty and scatterbrained. It's not so much that she's unlikeable, but rather someone completely inappropriate to be pursuing a career as a hard-hitting news reporter and thus unapproachable as such. And then there's the ending. A culprit is identified — no thanks to Carol — but there is a hint there may be more to the story, yet that isn't forthcoming as the book comes to an abrupt close. Not necessarily an unusual way to end a mystery, but not altogether a satisfactory one either. On balance, not a solid hit but not a complete miss either.
Acknowledgment: Henery Press provided an ARC of Shadow of Doubt for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Shadow of Doubt: Los Angeles, California
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Shadow of Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman — A Carol Childs Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: December 2014
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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