Chessa Paxton, an event planner in Lake Tahoe, celebrates a successful night at the Happily Ever After Ball, but her dream quickly becomes a nightmare when she wakes up beside the body of her dead husband. Nauseous and confused, feeling as if she's been drugged, she can't explain to the sheriff why her princess costume is bloodied. With her father already a convicted murderer, she feels invisible shackles ratcheting onto her wrists and ankles. She runs! But she can't escape vivid flashes of memory: a massacre in a meadow; men and women in fairy tale costumes; Snow White’s dead body shielding her from bullets.
Though Chessa is a former costumer and a master of disguise, she quickly learns that hiding while trying to prove herself innocent is the most difficult task imaginable. Especially when the sheriff wants to throw her in jail and the real killer wants to silence her forever.
A couple of years ago, I received a print copy of one of Avery Aames' Cheese Shop Mysteries as a prize from an internet drawing. I was hooked. Cozy mysteries immediately jumped to the top of my favored genres, and Avery Aames was (and continues to be) one of my favorite authors.
Sometimes when an author jumps genres, you don't know how it will turn out. Given that the author of Girl on the Run was Daryl/Avery, however, there was no need to worry. And there are some similarities between "Girl" and Ms. Gerber's other works. There is a female protagonist, she has vibes going with an officer of the law, and at least one person winds up dead, with the MC or a friend as suspect. But there the similarities end.
Cozy mysteries are books you read with fuzzy slippers on and your feet up on the couch. Suspense thrillers are more the running shoes and one of those treadmills with the book shelf. The whole tone is different. The stakes are higher. The string is pulled tighter. You are on the edge of your seat more often and for longer periods of time.
I am just pleased as punch to report that fans of Daryl Wood Gerber/Avery Aames will also like Girl on the Run. And new fans will flock to this writer's superb style. I maybe had flashes here or there about what had actually happened... kind of like Chessa's recollections of what happened after the gala fundraiser: disjointed and confusing, hard to piece together. I was kept guessing and re-arranging those puzzle pieces until the big reveal.
I also applaud the fact that the main character (Chessa) had been seeing a therapist. And it wasn't a Hollywood "in" thing. Chessa had real problems that required professional help. There is so much stigma against mental illnesses and the people who have them. Sometimes things happen that cannot be 'stiff-upper-lipped' away. And Chessa had more than her fair share of them. As a young child, her father had been dragged out of the house and convicted of murder (he claimed innocence). Her mother married a man who became a senator, and she (the mom) was later killed when the cab she had entered exploded. (That was one of those flashes for me.) And if there was an award for being in the area of the most murders in the shortest period of time and NOT having anything to do with them, Chessa would be a shoe-in!
The twists and turns in Girl on the Run are as exciting as the biggest rollercoaster ride and as thrilling as the world's most exciting police chases. If you like the suspense/thriller genre, buy this book. If you are a fan of Daryl Wood Gerber/Avery Aames, add this book to your collection. 'Nuff said.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Agatha Award-winning and nationally bestselling author DARYL WOOD GERBER ventures into the world of suspense with her gripping debut novel, GIRL ON THE RUN. Daryl also writes the bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries. As AVERY AAMES, she pens the bestselling Cheese Shop Mysteries. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in "Murder, She Wrote." In addition, she has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and hitchhiked around Ireland by herself. She absolutely adores Lake Tahoe, where GIRL ON THE RUN is set, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky.