Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Book Review: Death on the Boardwalk by Caleb Wygal (Myrtle Beach Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Clark, solid mystery
Cons: Writing a little rough early on, characters could be stronger
The Bottom Line:
Death in resort town
Who left body behind store?
It’s a good beach read

Body at the Back Door

I’ve discovered that one way to take more vacations than you have time or money for is to read books set at touristy locations.  So when Death on the Boardwalk by Caleb Wygal crossed my path, I knew I had to read it.

Clark Thomas runs a bookstore near the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.  His days are usually fairly quiet, and he enjoys helping his customers find just the right beach read for their vacation.  However, this particular morning, he arrives at work to find a carpet rolled up by his shop’s back door.  When he investigates, he discovers that a body is hidden inside the carpet.  Worse yet, he recognizes the victim as Paige, one of his regular customers.  Clark can’t help but wonder why the body was dumped behind his store.  And why would someone want to kill Paige?

Sadly, I’ve never been to Myrtle Beach, or South Carolina, but this book made me want to visit all the more.  The beach and the touristy aspects of the setting called to me.  Maybe I need to go visit my local beach again soon.  And what reader doesn’t love books?  That’s an added bonus for sure.

The mystery was good.  The added elements of how along with who and why gave Clark plenty to investigate, and I was engaged the entire time.  I especially appreciated a twist near the end, and things made perfect sense when we reached the end.

The characters could have been a little better developed.  Clark was the only one who was close to fully developed.  The others are good, but they just felt like there was more to them we weren’t seeing.  This applies to series regulars and suspects alike.  But then again, this is the first in the series, so it gives the characters room to grow, right?  And don’t get me wrong, the characters were developed enough for us to care about them and the outcome.

Clark lost his wife suddenly a couple of years ago, and that past tragedy is part of what does make him stand out among the cast of characters.  It also helps that the book is told first person, so we get more of an insight into who he is as the book progresses.

Overall, I did feel that the writing could be a bit…smoother, for lack of a better word.  Especially, early in the book, we were given some information in rather awkward ways.  Fortunately, as the story got going, that began to go away.

I did enjoy this book overall, and I’m hopeful that this series will get stronger as it goes.

If you need more vacation than you are likely to get this year, consider vacationing with Clark in Death on the Boardwalk.  It’s a beach read you can enjoy anywhere.

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