It’s the dog days of summer in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Webb’s Glass Shop proprietor Savannah Webb has an eco-friendly plan to help locals escape the heat–a recyclable bottle-crafting workshop taught by reticent store manager Amanda Blake. Turns out, the class is a bigger smash than expected, thanks in part to a pair of staggeringly old bottles brought in by snorkeler Martin Lane . . .
Linked to a storied pirate shipwreck, the relics definitely pique Savannah’s interest. But intrigue turns to shock when Martin’s lifeless body washes ashore the next morning, another glass artifact tucked in his dive bag. With cell phone records connecting Amanda to the drowning, Savannah must voyage through unchartered territory to exonerate her colleague and capture the twisted criminal behind Martin’s death . . .
How, oh how, did I miss the 2nd book (Shards of Murder) in this series? Especially after I enjoyed the 1st installment (Pane and Suffering) so much? Well, I'm wish-listing it for my birthday right now!
Cracked to Death once again has us visiting St. Petersburg, FL, and Webb's Glass Shop, which is always a pleasure. For one, my mother always liked the name Savannah (who is the shop owner), and she took a stained-glass class once, making a beautiful suncatcher. For two, the staff is like a family. Savannah and her staff watch out for each other - Amanda, former student (now shop manager) who is a 'person of interest' in the death of a student/treasure hunter and Jacob, a highly intelligent and perceptive young man who has some social challenges.
And if I could be half as resourceful as Savannah I would be a happy woman! She has opened a studio/workshop where glass artists and rent space and create their works, which seems like a natural 'next-step' for the family business. When she needs something or someone, and she doesn't know where to find it/them, or doesn't know someone who does, she goes and takes care of business herself! (Of course, in cozy mysteries, the heroines generally get into a spot of trouble doing too much investigating by themselves...but that's another story.)
Poor Amanda, though. Not only is she manager of Webb's Glass Shop now, she teaches her first class (a nerve-wracking opening-night-jitters affair). Savannah helps her smooth through until Amanda feels more comfortable. A student, Martin, brings in some blue bottles he wanted more information on, and Savannah sets about helping him get that information. Unbeknownst to anyone else connected with the shop, Amanda has been seeing Martin socially. But, within the next couple of days, Martin is found dead on the shore, and Amanda has to deal with the loss of a boyfriend as well as being a suspect in the murder. To top that off, Amanda's mother is in serious medical condition and it's touch and go as to whether or not she will survive long enough for Amanda to get out of the police station!
And then, of course, there is Edward, owner of a nearby pub and Savannah's love interest. Apparently she hasn't 'admitted' it to anyone yet, though, until later in this book. I'm not sure I would have done it in quite the way she did - not that she was off-color or anything. I guess I'm just more private when it comes to my private life. No worries. They are an adorable couple!
The action in Cracked to Death is exciting, vintage Hollon. The core group even welcomes a few new members (whether or not they return for future installments), which I think is great. And Jacob gets to shine in some new areas, which is fantastic!
If you have a long trip coming up where the conveyance is not part of the adventure (like on a cruise), the time will pass quickly if you take Cracked to Death with you. You know the saying, "Time flies when you are having FUN!"
MEET THE AUTHOR
Cheryl Hollon now writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks. Visit her online at http://cherylhollon.com, on Facebook or on Twitter@CherylHollon.
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(Disclosure: I received this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)
Reading this book helped me fulfill the following 2016 Reading Challenges: