Played to Death - B.V. Lawson

BOOK BLURB: Still suffering nightmares from a case that ended tragically, brilliant freelance crime consultant Scott Drayco considers retiring from crime solving altogether. When a former client bequeaths Drayco a rundown Opera House in a Virginia seaside town, he figures he'll arrange for a quick sale of the place while nursing his battered soul in a peaceful setting near the shore. What he doesn't count on is finding a dead body on the Opera House stage with a mysterious "G" carved into the man's chest.

 

With hopes for a quick sale dashed and himself a suspect in the murder, Drayco digs into old secrets buried like shells beneath the sand in order to solve the crime and clear his name. Along the way, Drayco must dodge a wary Sheriff, hostility over coastal development, and the seductive wife of a town councilman—before the tensions explode into more violence and he becomes the next victim.

 

MY TAKE: Drayco's inner demons aren't afraid to bubble up close to the surface and wrap their tendrils around his mind, but he does a pretty good job of keeping himself calm and steady on the surface--a good skill to have when you're a former member of the FBI turned crime consultant who's just inherited an abandoned, derelict Opera House with--what else--a dead body inside. There are lots of twists and turns in this one, as people from a past mostly forgotten have a way of making their voices heard, and the deeper Drayco digs, the more the past and present intertwine. I had a little difficulty keeping the cast of characters straight in my head at first, but I enjoyed figuring out who the killer is even though I initially had the wrong motivation. There's a bit more blood than I'm used to since I generally stick to cozies, but there's by no means over-the-top gore.

 

LAGNIAPPE: Drayco drives a blue Starfire, which I had never heard of before, so I decided to look it up. Pretty cool .