Retail at Christmas is Killer
It can be a problem when you find a prolific author you enjoy. I like knowing I have plenty of Diane Vallere’s books ahead of me. But I despair of ever catching up since I seem to read them about as fast as she writes them. Still, I’ve taken another step forward with Pearls Gone Wild, the sixth in her Samantha Kidd series.
Samantha is a former buyer who has returned to her hometown of Ribbon, Pennsylvania. The past couple of years have been rough for her, but she has finally landed a steady job and she and her boyfriend Nick are in a good place, even if his job has him over in Italy again. She is looking forward to his return before Christmas, however. And she’s looking forward to enjoying a restful staycation to get ready for the holiday.
However, her plans for rest go out the window when her friend Cat needs her. First, Cat’s husband, George, announces that he needs his space and moves out. This blindsides Cat, who is eight months pregnant with their first child. Then, when Cat and Samantha go to Cat’s boutique late that night, they catch a burglar in the act and George’s dead body behind the jewelry display case. Can Samantha figure out what is really going on?
Anyone familiar with the series will know to expect a wild and crazy ride, and that’s the case again here. There are twists and surprises to keep you engaged the entire way to the end. Unfortunately, I think a couple bits of the plot got sidelined as the book neared the climax, so not everything was resolved as it should have been, but the major plot points are resolved and explained.
The series has a small cast of regulars, but they all put in appearances here, some larger than others. I enjoyed seeing them again and the character development we got for Samantha along the way. We get a slew of suspects, and they were all real enough to keep us engaged and help us remember who they all are.
I can’t leave out the humor. Samantha may have matured a little from the earlier books in the series, but there are still some pretty funny moments and escapades. And yet, the murder and its aftermath for Cat are taken seriously, and we get the quieter moments that really allow Samantha to grow as a character and make us love her more.
This book is a bit edgy for a cozy. Don’t worry, nothing explicit happens on the page. As long as you know that going in, you’ll be fine.
While this book is set in the week leading up to Christmas, it isn’t especially Christmassy. Some Christmas cozies are brimming with the season, but this one uses it as a background to the action. That’s just something to note in passing.
Pearls Gone Wild is another fun adventure for Samantha. If you are as behind in the series as I am, you are in for a treat when you get here.
Enjoy the rest of the Samantha Kidd Mysteries.