Neighing with Fire
Review: Outer Banks Fire Chief Colleen McCabe investigates the death of a developer, whose body was found in a burning building, while her police counterpart, Sheriff Bill Dorman looks into how a body came to be wedged under a boardwalk on the beach, in Neighing with Fire, the third mystery in this series by Kathryn O'Sullivan.
Residents of the area were certainly not fans of Denny Custis, who was in the process of building wherever he could get approval, and then pushing the limits of what was approved. Too, his workers were accused of harassing the native horses and other wildlife, something he apparently tolerated as long as they got the job done. But someone apparently took exception, and put a permanent stop to his activities. Colleen fears that her friend Myrtle Crepe, head of the local preservation society, may be involved as she has been known to take unorthodox approaches to dealing with the developers. But would she resort to murder? Meanwhile, Dorman's body is identified as a construction worker, who was thought to have left town months ago. Could there be a connection between the two deaths?
Of course there is, and that's where this mystery shines, in plotting how the deaths of two completely unrelated men are linked, and in a most credible way. But the path there is anything but linear, with diversions ranging from the developing relationship between Colleen McCabe and Bill Dorman (which is acceptable, within reason, to the context of the series as a whole) to the pending wedding of one of Colleen's firefighters (the preparations for which consume a far, far too large portion of the narrative; there's a bit of a red herring here in that a relative of the bride-to-be may be a suspect in the murders, but this element really isn't developed much and seems half-hearted at best). Neighing with Fire is an enjoyable mystery, but also a frustrating one for mystery readers. Just when some progress is being made in the investigation(s), the story veers off on a completely unrelated and tangential subplot. By the time it gets back on track, it seems that Colleen has retreated two steps for every three she had taken forward. It's a bit unfortunate that this cleverly plotted story didn't take advantage of its most important asset — the murder mystery itself — .and relied instead on filler to pad out the pages.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided an eARC of Neighing with Fire for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Neighing with Fire: Outer Banks, North Carolina
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Neighing with Fire by Kathryn O'Sullivan — A Colleen McCabe Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 2015
List Price: $25.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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