Thursday, September 3, 2015

Book Review: Trick or Deceit by Shelley Freydont (Celebration Bay #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great puzzle logically solved with fun characters
Cons: Some growth in relationships would be nice
The Bottom Line:
Halloween brings a
Fresh body.  New puzzle for
Liv to unravel

Haunted Houses are Murder

I’ve spent the last year in the town of Celebration Bay, enjoying the festivals and murder this small town has.  Trick or Deceit is the most recent trip there, and it’s another good one.

Celebration Bay, of course, is a fictional town that has made a name for itself by throwing huge festivals for every holiday.  Liv Montgomery is their event coordinator, and she has found an unofficial part of her job description is investigating the murders that pop up on a surprisingly regular basis.  Oh, there is a sheriff in town, and Liv tries to let him handle things, but the people in town keep turning to her with clues and gossip.  For the fourth book in the series, its Halloween time, and the problems just keep coming.

The town needs a new community center, and everyone is brainstorming ways to raise the money for it.  One fundraiser they’ve started is the first annual haunted house contest.  Each entry raises money toward the new center, with the winner getting a nice cash prize and the official haunted house of the Halloween season designation.

However, when the winner is announced, Ernie Bolton loses his temper.  He was counting on that prize money to pay back taxes, and he might lose his house without it.  By the next morning, the winning haunted house has been vandalized, but as people are cleaning up the mannequin parts from the vacant field where they’ve been thrown, a very real dead body is also found.  Did Ernie take out his anger on the winner, hoping to be declared winner by default?  Why was the victim murdered?  And what will this do to the grant that Liv is hoping to get for the new community center from an old friend from New York City?

Once again, we are presented with a great puzzle that needs to be solved.  Some unusual clues pop up as things begin to unfold, and they lead to some great red herrings along the way to the logical solution.  I suspected where things were going, but I wasn’t completely sure until close to the end of the book.

Meanwhile, the characters continue to be strong.  I really do love the regulars, and getting to see them again is always a treat.  I do wish we’d see a bit more growth in some of the relationships, but that’s a minor issue.  The new characters introduced for this book are memorable, and I enjoyed seeing a few characters from the previous books pop up again here in small roles.

In fact, I found I enjoyed this book more because I’ve been reading the series so close together.  I was able to see some threads from previous books that got picked up and further developed here, something I probably wouldn’t have picked up on and appreciated as much if I’d been reading them as they were released.  Not that I intend to start savings series and binge reading them, but I can see the advantages of doing that when it comes to character arcs.

Being set at Halloween, there are a couple of scenes that are a little spooky, mainly as Liv is heading into some place unknown.  However, the scares are minor.  This is a cozy mystery, after all.  Since I do tend to scare easily, I appreciated the hint of the season without anything harder.

Trick or Deceit is a wonderful addition to this fun holiday themed series.  I’ve enjoyed reading them around each holiday represented, but you really can enjoy a visit to Celebration Bay any time of year.

Looking to celebrate year round?  Check out the Celebration Bay Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your favorite aspect of Halloween and your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Thursday, September 10th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 9/10.


  1. My favorite part of Halloween is taking my gkids trick or treating. One of them has their birthday on Halloween so we get a party too !

  2. My favorite part of Halloween is seeing all the children in their costumes. I also love seeing all the pumpkin carvings. Thank you for this giveaway!

  3. This is one of my favorite series and I love Halloween so I am really looking forword to this new one. 4th of July seems so far away

  4. Now that my own kids are older, I like to stay home and see the cute costumes the little kids wear. A couple years ago, a little bit older neighbor boy was with his two little brothers. I couldn't figure out who he was dressed as--he had to tell me he was Jim from The Office! It was perfect once I knew! Thanks for the chance to win!

  5. I love seeing my grandchildren in their costumes. A few days before Halloween we have a pumpkin carving party that I enjoy.
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  6. Halloween has always been a favorite holiday ( love black cats). Sounds like a fun read. Count me in.