(A Red Frog Beach Mystery)
by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds
About the Book
Drowning Lessons (A Red Frog Beach Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – Bocas del Toro, a remote chain of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama
Self-Published (May 21, 2019)
Number of Pages: ~290
Digital ASIN: B07PZRR8WC
You are cordially invited to a destination wedding to die for…
Welcome to Bocas del Toro, a remote chain of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Five days of glorious sun and lush rainforest await the forty guests celebrating Bridezilla Olivia’s dream wedding—but will a murder sink the catered affair? Before anyone’s got time to start working on a tan, an unfortunate snorkeling accident eliminates a member of the wedding party. Maid of honor Lexie Marino smells trouble, and is thrust into the responsibility of investigating, needing to solve the case before her bestie’s trip down the aisle gets tropically derailed. The show must go on.
Lexie’s a little too tall, a little too awkward, and a little too brokenhearted, but she’s determined to nail the real killer. Can this unlikely sleuth stay afloat as she’s hit by wave after wave of wildly entertaining characters, including an alpha bride, surfing detectives, and a high school flame long forgotten?
We arrive on Bocas del Toro, a remote chain of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama for the destination wedding of Olivia Fowlers. Alexandra ‘Lexie’ Martone is her maid of honor and is at the bride’s beck and call, as are all of the bridesmaids. Each one has received a binder/dossier with details about all 40 guests and all the activities the bride has planned for the week. Each bridesmaid has been assigned a group of people to watch over and certain events they are each in charge of.
The first event, snorkeling is all fun and games until one of the guests failed to come out of the water on their own. The bride quickly informs Lexie to handle it, a dead body is not going to ruin her big day. When the authorities determine the person was actually murdered the bride’s Zilla claws come out and she tells Lexie to keep everything a secret until her wedding goes off without a hitch. Lexie isn’t sure if the island detectives can solve the case since they seem more focused on surfing instead of the murder, so she starts to do a little snooping on her own. Even she knows this could end badly.
‘Lexie’ Martone has the patience of a saint. She is trying to recover from a bad breakup, doesn’t know how to swim, has put on a few pounds, and has always been the tallest girl in the crowd. She knows nothing about investigating a murder but she is going to give her the old college try. Everyone is a suspect and she doesn’t know who she can trust. Her time on the island is going to be the farthest thing from a delightful vacation. Lexie shows a lot of growth over these pages which makes me excited about this character.
In addition to Lexie, the author introduces us to a mixed bag of characters. New friends, old friends, a few relatives, work colleagues and one very wealthy character who is paying for this extravaganza. One ends up dead and then another and all those remaining land on the suspect list. Truthfully, with the exception of one or two, they weren’t a likable bunch for me or Lexie, so it wasn’t hard to believe that one or more of them could be a murderer.
Our protagonist didn’t do too much actual investigating. She leaned on her observations, overhearing conversations, and making a pest of herself, just being on the scene while trying to keep up with all her wedding chores. In my mind, she put herself in some risky situations for very little knowledge gained, but somehow it all came together by the end in a very enjoyable way.
This story is much more than a cozy mystery. It is a dramedy where literally everything that can go wrong does. Twists, turns, craziness, and good old mayhem fill these pages all on an idyllic chain of islands. A virtual beach escape or grab a copy and head to the beach. This was a fun book to read and a great start for this series. I am looking forward to the next book.
About the Author
RACHEL NEUBURGER REYNOLDS is the author of The Red Frog Beach Mystery Series. As a playwright, her plays have had been produced in London, Edinburgh and New York. After 25-years in New York City, she now resides with her husband between London and St Leonards-on-Sea in England. For news about Rachel and the upcoming Red Frog Beach Mysteries, check her out at RachelNeuburger.com.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”