Waves if Murder: C.S. McDonald
For those of us that are educators you might wonder what others think about people in our profession. Imagine teaching kindergarten and considered not quite capable of doing much more than dealing with small children. You never met kindergarten teacher, sleuth and tenacious Fiona Quinn. She’s a force you don’t want to reckon with but when killers, murders and anyone that’s suspicious comes her way watch out! Fiona is supposed to spend her summer recess with her detective boyfriend Nathan Landry biking, swimming, enjoying the sunshine and the beach and having some couple time. But, when her mother Nancy enlists her services to edit three not one but three novels by famous romance Wyla Parkes little did she know that this would be another one of those times she would regret. Not wanting to edit the books and really not into Wyla’s genre and after sharing some of her writing at the start of the novel, you will understand why Fiona was not exactly thrilled about doing her mother this huge favor. The perks were a huge payment for editing the trilogy and the second a luxury beach house with every amenity you could ask for. But, something was odd about the way Wyla wanted her books published this time. Many famous and seasoned authors have gone the way of self-publishing when they want their books to come out faster than a traditional publisher would release it. So, wanting to change her way of publishing the books she explains it to Les Crane of Noble publishing and Sam did not want to honor her request and even if Lester did Sam would not agree. Dealing with both would prove interesting as Fiona overhears Wyla talking but never figures out that some things lead to murder. Wyla’s name was owned by Noble and for her to go the way of self-publishing she would have to create a pen name. But, Wyla might be a great author and when knocking on Fiona’s door or should I say Wyla’s beach house, door, bringing something delicious and amazing as truffles as a treat for Fiona, little did she realize that this would be the last time she sees or talks to her. Hoping that Fiona would meet with her after the weekend to talk about the edits little did she know that would never happen? The following morning Fiona and my other favorite character, Harriet, her dog take a walk on the beach only to find you guessed it the first wave of murder the body of Wyla. Why would anyone want to kill dear Wyla? Well: think about the fact that she was married five times! Think about the fact that she was relentless when it came to men regardless of whether they were married, attached or seeing someone. What Wyla wants she goes after and gets? Meet Sam the man who hoped to co-author the third book in her trilogy and who she blatantly told she was doing it alone. Sam Urick did not take it lightly that she pushed him off and did not want him to co-author the anthology that Fiona was editing. This information she got from Nancy her mother who was devastated that her friend was murdered. Enter Nathan who Fiona asked to check on ballet tickets at her house but what happens when he goes there is right out of a spooky ghost movie as Evelyn, Fiona’s dead grandmother has been living and haunting the house and enjoys playing pranks on Fiona and poor Nathan was now her next victim. Finding the tickets and not understanding why every time he placed the bills in piles things were moved around or back to where they were before, Nathan thinks it better to just leave and he’s probably right as he heads for Erie and meets up with Fiona only to be dragged into the murder case. Alex Belafonte is the detective in Erie in charge of the case and when Fiona informs the police about Wyla and calls 9/11 she is knee deep in questions, statements, explaining why she was on the beach and was escorted back to the cottage by Officer Reeves her protector or babysitter. When Nathan arrives Alex is thrilled he’s there, as they are old friends and from this point on things heat up and get really wild and crazy. Fiona remembers seeing another jogger on the beach with a small dog and soon realizes that the dog belongs to Alex’s stepmother, Tempest who is more than twenty years young than his elderly dad who owns the best bakery in town. Learning more about Tempest and when you finally meet her you will realize that she is exactly what her name is a temptation for affairs with men, guys on the side and much more money hungry.
When things calm down and Nathan and Fiona meet up with Tony the owner of the bakery they talk about Wyla and she can tell that there might be more to the friendship. This is just the tip of the wavy iceberg or the ocean waves because things get dicey and when Nathan gets an urgent call to return to his own precinct, little doe she know that Fiona would disregard his alert to danger warnings and what happens next if priceless. She allows Sam Urick through door, has Nathan on the phone and he proceeds to explain things about Wyla to her and reveals a piece of information which shall remain classified that alerts her that it’s a good thing that Nathan hears the conversation. Fiona realizes that she is in trouble and I won’t reveal what Sam does but she hopes the cavalry will show up before it’s too late.
Meet Officer Reeves and learn more about why he is trying to become a detective but when dealing with him Alex tries to make him understand that a detective always has his cell phone at the ready, answers it all the time and needs to be more careful with it. But, sometimes things happen and lessons are learned in an unusual way. Which brings me to what happens when Nathan warns Fiona to not go on the beach alone, even with Harriet the next day but you know Fiona and who guessed it. But, first meet her neighbor Stephanie Friend. Perfect name for this vamp or vampire who is rich, superficial, has her own agenda and whose dentist husband is nowhere to be found because dear Stephanie tossed him out for you guessed it philandering. But, that’s not an issue that she really cares to address and she tries to befriend Fiona hoping that they can jog together and of course bring along Harriet and maybe even Patsy, Tempest’s adorable dog too. Let’s get back to Fiona and Harriet walking on the beach the next day and but first think about this did Tempest feel compromised by Wyla’s interest in her husband? Did she off her? But, I guess when you learn that she is the next dead body found you might rethink that or not!
Jumping to conclusions can lead to the wrong answer but when calling Alex to report something and Nathan too why don’t they answer their phones? Alex she begins to think might be the killer because of his remarks about his phone and why does he purposely break Brian’s? What is his thought and motivation? Was it because he knew something not yet revealed or was it to teach him a lesson in responsibility?
Both cases were related in some way and Alex even shares the coroner’s report with Nathan and the author creates a unique and clever way to do that so that no one will suspect what they are up too and question either one. But, when Nathan insists that Fiona go back home and he would see her the following day and she recounts in her head what she thinks she knows she realizes that maybe Sam did not kill Wyla, maybe someone else did but who? A perfect sting might get blown as she heads back to where she thinks Nathan and Alex are when requesting the help of someone else. The ruse is set and plan in place and someone is arrest but is this person the killer or is the killer thinking he is going to skate? Someone is arrested and Fiona once again heads for Stephanie’s and the end result is you won’t believe it. When all of the facts are out and the players are in one place you won’t believe what they find and why sometimes you need to put Vicks under your nose. Can’t tell you why just ask a coroner. The ending is quite complex as the author creates a unique way of trapping a killer or killers. Cell phones can give you information you won’t even know they can and the author creates a sting for the killer that only C.S. McDonald can come up with. Nathan has a friend that can find information on a cell that we cannot nor does anyone know that this information can be found. Who killed Wyla and Tempest? What did they find in Stephanie’s house? Just how many murders were there? But, before I conclude this review with characters that are cleverly created, smart, crafty, deceitful and revengeful, let’s give you on more tidbit: Whenever Alex, Nathan and Fiona are stressed they hunt for the KitKat bars or Snickers and the question is which does she like better? Added in when Nathan and Fiona pretend to argue he pushed her buttons by calling her Fi, Fifi and my favorite…..! Who killed the two women and one more person? What name do you think Nathan should call his Fiona? An ending that will surprise you and a detective that realizes he has his hands full and will they ever get married and an author who creates a relationship with moral values. Fiona: What’s next? But, remember wherever she goes you better watch out because you never know when there will be more WAVES OF MURDER!
This book gets my favorite nickname for her: FIVE POOPYLUMPS !
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine