Friday, January 17, 2014

Really Dead - a Ria Butler Mystery by J.E. Forman

Published by Dundurn

When action is called on this set, they really mean business!
An entertaining romp in the British Virgin Islands as a TV reality show is in the multiple forms of production. Ria Butler is just returning from a trip in the Andes when she receives a call from her brother's friend to come to the British Virgin Islands. Forget Galapagos and the promised photo for her niece of a blue-footed boobie, she is on her way via a number of flights.

As a travel writer, Ria Butler has seen many strange and interesting things, but nothing could have prepared her for what she finds when she arrives on the set of the reality show her brother James is producing. When she finally gets to the island where filming takes place she finds herself unable to avoid being under surveillance everywhere. How will she be able to find out from Rob, James' friend, what prompted his urgent call that James may be in trouble?

On her arrival James certainly seems to have both hands and more full with his room-mate, presumably not the trouble referred to. Ria does smell a mystery, though, and her curiosity expands the more she gets to know the cast and crew, but goes into overdrive when it comes to James' partner the obnoxious Dan, and Albert the mysterious courier, curiously coming and going at odd times flying between the islands and Toronto, delivering canvas bags one way and carrying a metal case back.

When action is called on this set, they really mean business! Fast-paced and unexpected action. As a reality show, competition runs in the extreme with the finale about to be filmed. With the assistance from afar of Ria's boyfriend Glenn, an investigative reporter, the mystery deepens. A young member of the crew has disappeared and left behind her luggage and her severed foot...or was that a production prop? Why do the police in Toronto say she is at home and whole? I loved this book, not just for the mystery and intrigue, but for the feel of the excitement, practical jokes, hustle and bustle of TV production. Well-written and taut, great characters, J.E. Forman knows what she's talking about. I'm happy to learn this book is first in the "Ria Butler series," a series I'm sure will have a long run.

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