Greed, control, money, revenge, distrust, disloyalties and family strike and conflict are just some of what Carrie Singleton will face as author Allison Brook creates many hazardous scenes, dangerous encounters that will leave Carrie wondering what’s next? As the head of Programs and Events at her local library she has to coordinate and orchestrate along with her team Trish, Susan and Angela the events making sure that each program goes off without any clichés so that Sally her immediate boss won’t berate her or anyone else on her team. Benton Parr is well versed in jewelry and has been slated to speak as a guest speak on gems, jewelry and how to tell real from fake while hoping to enlist someone of the patrons into coming to his shop and purchasing the magnificent jewelry that readers learn about during his presentation. But, Benton Parr is a jewel thief that heisted some rare and precious gems along with someone close to Carrie, namely her father, and from this point on as the program draws to a close nothing will remain the same. Dina Parr and Chris Crowley work alongside Benton and helped create the display during the presentation. Seemingly friendly and companionable, don’t let appearances fool you which each reader will learn that not everyone or everything is what it or they seem. Camouflaged, within the pages of a book, or within the walls of this library are those that will try and take it down, destroy the safety and trust of others as the program draws to a close and Carrie has to face off with her own hidden feelings about Benton Parr. Before leaving and closing up Carrie hears Benton and someone arguing and the end result is someone is hurt why?
Then the next thing we learn is that someone killed Benton. Sleeping and recuperating from the day that would ring her bell at 3 in the morning. None other than her estranged father Jim Singleton and here is where things get dicey, dangerous and where Carrie faces many moral and ethical decisions. Finding him at her front door she realizes that it’s not a visit or normal father/daughter encounter but he’s hear to see Benton and get his share of the 20 million dollars worth of gems that they stole but just who has them and where are they no one seems to know or want to admit?
The next thing she learns is that her father has been arrested for the murder learning more about his relationship to Benton and Carrie has to enlist the help of her Uncle Bosco and her Aunt Harriet to find a lawyer, decide on the next step and face facts that he might be the killer or is he?
After questioning him and realizing that he might be innocent she is stuck with him for a time knowing that his visit has nothing to do with fatherly love and trust but only for the gems at least for now.
Learning more about the heist and then having to find a way to deal with him as a permanent guest for a while since Detective John Mathers insists he not leave town for any reason, things heat up in many directions as they question Corey, Dina and even Mariel Parr concerning the death of Benton and the gems. Jim Singleton was morally corrupt, not dependable, incapable of being there for his daughter and not supportive. So, why does she take the stance and position of defending and protecting him? Carrie just wants a parent on her side and her mother is not in her life and her father is a fly by night.
Dylan her boyfriend is someone she thought was on her side until she realizes that dating her was because of her father and learning more about the gems and where they might be in order to close the case of the missing stones and then move on to the next. Anger fills her heart and mind and she breaks off with him thinking that she has been used. But, was he really in it just for the gems? Does he not care for her?
There are others involved as we learn that the man who fought with Benton and threatened him was the husband of Jennifer Darby who worked in the café at the library, Paul Darby. Angry that his wife was having an affair with this man, not everything you learn is what you think it is and the harsh realities will be revealed but since this is an ongoing investigation you will have to learn, means, motive and intent yourself when you read this multi-complex plotted novel.
Carrie’s mind works overtime and she begins to devise a method to stop a killer and alliances are formed as she thinks Paul Darby might be the killer, her father or someone else? Admitting to the police that her father has always been a thief takes courage and honesty but how would this harsh reality play out in the end?
Getting to know Dina and Chris she learns that Chris has strong feelings for Dina and that her mother wants to sell the jewelry shop that has been losing money and she hoped that she would benefit in some way and be allowed to run the store on her own. But, what about her estranged brother, Richard? Things get really heated up when Carrie decides to go rogue and hunt a dangerous killer. Tom Quincy is a dangerous man and threatens not only Carrie but also others. But, when she learns his connection to Dylan that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back and she severs their relationship. Added in the anger within her swells, her father remains with her and then things happen that will reveal more people that would benefit from the gems, the death of Benton and then some kills Quincy? Why and who?
The library programs go on and Carrie has to deal with having her father stay with her and then facing the fact that someone out there is relentless and won’t stop until she, her father and others are gone.
Then, a phone call that would change it all when her father is hurt, and needs an operation and is in the hospital and she has to decide how to handle that, his recovery and become his daughter even for a short time. Links get broken, lies are told and families are torn apart as more murders are committed and Carrie finds herself embroiled in learning who the killer is but will she survive her own curiosity? Things get tense and angry words are spoken and Smokey Joe creates havoc in the library and lives are at stake when someone wants it all but who and why? A family disjointed with everyone on edge as author Alison Brook engages the characters in their own revelry, explains why just about anyone close to Benton might have wanted him dead as a young girl faces reality, someone close to her has his/her own wants in mind, selfish greed, revenge for the past and Carrie Singleton who has her own demons to bear.
Who are the cast of characters that we must look at with a magnifying glass? Paul, Jennifer, Chris, Jim, Dylan, Mariel, Dina and even Carrie as author Alison Brook brings to light what happens when families are in turmoil, money is the ultimate power and greed just might win out!
But, not everything is about murder as poor Carrie learns that Dorothy is her Secret Santa and our favorite ghost Evelyn comes out asking a favor that would change the lives two people are the past of a man named Morton whose life if about to end requires his own form of redemption but will that change the final outcome of those involved?
Carrie has to deal with another upset as she is asked to conduct the musical singers during the Christmas program and that scene is heartfelt and heartwarming.
But, the final strings of the woolen ball are wound up and will unravel as a killer is caught, a thief revealed and the final conclusion comes to light and you won’t believe it until you read it for yourself.
An explosive ending, harsh realities and truths uncovered and Carrie once again faces some things in her life that might never change. Jim Singleton is her father but will he remain in her life? Her anger with Dylan overtakes her at times will she see his point of view? What happens when you love your work, enjoy the library and the patrons you better watch out carefully whose behind the stacks and who is lurking around or else you too might be a victim and never know you might READ AND BE GONE! A fun read and a must read!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Network/MJ magazine