Every Time I Go On Vacation Someone Dies

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This charming cozy mystery is clever, engaging and a tweak on the typical murder-in-an-exotic-location trope. With the madcap moodiness, sinister undercurrent, and dreamy gelato-soaked Italian-esque setting of the fabulous (and slyly referenced) “White Lotus”, this story is coupled with main characters who are themselves mystery authors, including (and a series first installment featuring) our first person POV narrator, Eleanor Dash.

Eleanor, thirty-five years old (a self-proclaimed “woman who spends most of her days in stretchy pants with her hair in a messy bun”) is all a reader could expect of a heroine – humorous, vulnerable, mixed-up, needy, loving, romantically self-destructive, fearful and sometimes brave. Eleanor also clearly has her own secrets.

A successful mega-author on a contractually-necessary book tour, Eleanor is traveling with her sister, Harper (her P.A, and herself something of an enigma) ; a collection of ex-lovers; a boatload of fans; and a resentful, competitive, back-stabbing complement of her writerly peers.

Eleanor’s narrative voice is the readers’ guide, providing an intimate first-person take on the plot, as it unfolds, as a plot, revealed directly to the acknowledged reader, via an unusual literary technique known as removing the fourth wall.

And so the stage is set for a mystery to solve, headed by our colorful heroine, with what appears to be a murderer operating within the tour’s own ranks, amidst the stunning backdrop of the Italian coast. As the tension builds, it is accompanied by a steady stream of clues, commentary and nudges from our chatty narrator.

The result is a fun and quirky read, with a heroine who may be completely accessible to the reader, or the exact opposite (clearly unreliable); a twisty plot peppered with intrigue; a hint of love reclaimed; and an ending and final reveal both satisfying and only moderately predictable.

All in all, a first installment that promises more, much more, of the same to come – and the start of a delightful new series.


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