By Linda Gerber
How better to celebrate going on vacation than to write about a fabulous beach read? Linda Gerber's DEATH BY BIKINI will pull you in and leave you eager for Aphra and Seth's next adventure. Like J. F. Lewis, Gerber is cruel and knows it. "Leave you eager" was an understatement. You'll be desperate for DEATH BY LATTE (and it doesn't come out until September)! In fact, my mom's first reaction to the ending was to ask me for the release date of DEATH BY LATTE.
Aphra Connolly lives on an island resort owned by her father. However, things are getting rather more interesting lately. There's a mysterious family, complete with hot teenage boy Seth, a second mysterious guest, and a third guest has been found strangled on the beach. Aphra needs to find out what's happening at the resort before anyone else dies - and so that she knows it is okay to fall in love with Seth.
DEATH BY BIKINI is over two hundred pages, but it feels shorter. Gerber's pacing is fast and furious. I never felt overwhelmed, but the book was over before I knew it. My mother also finished it in a single day, a rare occurance nowadays. But unlike many beach reads, DEATH BY BIKINI has an incredible heroine. Aphra is resourceful, athletic, and intelligent. Her mistakes seem real, rather than events included just to further the plot. Seth spends most of the novel hiding his past so his character is necessarily less developed, but he shows he's brave and caring throughout the novel.
The mystery component of DEATH BY BIKINI is solid. There are clues as to the murderer's identity and purpose, but neither is readily apparent. Plus, while Gerber seeds hints of larger mysteries afoot, she knows allowing some payoff in this novel only makes the next that much more desirable. (There's nothing worse than being handed a bushel of questions by an author and receiving no answers.)
Have a wonderful fourth of July! Enjoy the fireworks (if you live in the United States) and make it an even better summer day with DEATH BY BIKINI, available now. Check out Gerber's website, myspace, and blog. She hosts a Freebie Friday every Friday on that blog, so be sure to stop by today.