“Death by Surprise” is a classic, fast-paced, private eye story about a rich family with many secrets they think are safely hidden in the past. Those secrets could destroy their reputations, careers and political ambitions.
K.C. Carlisle and her cousin Kenneth Carlisle grew up together in the rich Carlisle family home. K.C. is a lawyer at a time when it’s against stereotype to be a lady lawyer. She has a storefront office in a tough part of town and is dating the Democratic nominee for the District House seat. Kenneth has an extremely lucrative tax practice, income from the family trust, and a very wealthy wife. He has political ambitions and is currently the Republican nominee for the District House seat.
Enter Francine Boutelle, freelance journalist for Inside Out, a cheap magazine pandering to the public’s lust for scandal. Francine interviews the Carlisle family members for an article she hopes will expose all their dirty little secrets. Francine realizes she can make more money by blackmailing the family instead of writing the article and issues her demand. The family wants to pay, but K.C. isn’t sold on the idea. She breaks into Francine’s apartment and plants a recording device before the meeting, but when she returns for her 8:00 PM appointment to pay the blackmail, she discovers Francine has been murdered.
Kenneth is arrested for the murder, prompting K.C. to investigate. When there is a second, related murder, K.C. realizes who the murderer is and can see only one dangerous path to justice.
Carolyn Hart has developed a strong female voice with K.C. Carlisle. The novel is well written, has a strong plot, and reminiscent of the best classic detective movies. This is mystery writing at its finest, without today’s formulas or clichés.
Learn more about Carolyn Hart at www.carolynhart.com.