Sunday, April 19, 2009

Review: Dare to Die: A Death on Demand Mystery by Carolyn Hart

From the ARC back cover: "Over the years, Annie and Max Darling have witnessed a cornucopia of unusual events on Broward's Rock. Yet they are completely unprepared for the arrival of a mysterious, beautiful young woman named Iris. Within days the whole town is abuzz with speculation and gossip about the former resident. But idle chatter soon takes a downward spiral, and now the happy town in divided into camps of neighbor against neighbor.

The situation really begins to spin out of control when Annie befriends Iris and invites her to attend the Darlings' party at the pavilion-where Death makes an uninvited appearance. Suddenly, Max and Annie find themselves in the middle of a fight they don't understand and at the mercy of an unknown assailant who's trying to kill them-and all they know is that the culprit is one of their friends."

In her 19th book in the Death on Demand series, Carolyn Hart has once again proved her expertise in writing a most puzzling cozy mystery. Broward's Rock, SC, is home to the Death on Demand book store owned by Annie Darling. Annie not only supplies this wonderful seaside community with the best selection of mystery books, she is also active in many charitable community affairs. Annie and Max both have inquisitive and curious natures. They just can't help it. If there is a mystery to be solved, they want to be part of the solution. Of course this is much to the consternation of the Island Police chief, Billy Cameron. This time Annie and Max really have their hands full as they race against time to narrow down the suspects and stop any more mayhem.

I just love these books. Hart has a cast of unforgettable and unique characters and reading another book in the series is just like visiting with old friends. Broward's Rock is described to perfection, I can almost hear the waves lapping against the sides of the wharf and the breeze blowing through the palmetto trees. Annie's bookstore is a place I would actually like to visit, where the coffee is always hot, the newest mystery is on the shelf and Annie's cat, Agatha, keeps a wary eye on all who enter. It's almost hard to remember that it is indeed fictional. Try as I might on this one, I could not figure out the who culprit was. Hart really knows how to hook the reader right from the beginning and keep their interest to the end. An example taken from page 20:
He knew people. Worry puckered his face. "That girl in Six. I think she's got trouble. Maybe nothing anyone can do to help, but keep an eye out. She rented a cabin yesterday evening. She came in the rain. Alone. On a bicycle."
Just separating those three sentences instead of saying she came alone in the rain on a bicycle gives it much more emphasis and added mystery. Hart incorporates into the story enough suspects with perfectly good motives and alibis to keep the reader guessing until the final denouement. 5*****

About the book:
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (March 31, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006145303X
ISBN-13: 978-0061453038

About the author:Recently, I had the honor of interviewing Carolyn. You can read the interview here. Carolyn Hart has won multiple Agatha, Anthony and Macavity awards. She also writes two other series; Henrie O and Bailey Ruth Raeburn. Carolyn has a wonderful website with a lot more biographical info including all the numerous awards she has won.


  1. Ok -- first of all an apology. I have been so busy with school and such that I did not have a chance to read the interview with Carolyn Hart. These mysteries sound RIGHT UP MY ALLY!! I must go in search of the first book soon and add to my cozy mystery challenge collection :)

    Secondly - thank you so much for your kind encouraging comments during the readathon. You should DEFINITELY participate in October. It is so much and I will promise to cheer you on :)

  2. I have the Carolyn Hart books in my TBR and I'm looking forward to eventually reading them.

    I gave you another award! Please stop by to pick it up :)

  3. Kaye, please check your email as you won a book on my blog. You only have one day left to respond and then I will have to pick a different winner.

  4. What a great review. I have never read her books and now wish I could! Thanks Kaye!

  5. I've never heard of these but I have a couple of people on my book buying list that love cozy mysteries!

  6. I loved your review and when you mentioned that you forget at times that this place is fictional that really caught my attention. Sounds like a mystery series that I need to investigate!


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