Annie and Max Darling face their worst crisis yet in Dead Days of Summer, the 17th book in Carolyn G. Hart’s Death on Demand series. Annie is disappointed when Max calls her one afternoon to tell her that he will be home late that night. He has a meeting with his new client at his consultation company Confidential Commissions. Then, Max disappears. While 200 volunteers mobilized by Hennie Brawley and Emma Clyde scour the whole island searching for Max, acting police chief Billy Cameron learns that Max was seen that night seemingly in the arms of another woman at a cheap bar. On a lead from the bartender, Billy finds Max’s red Porsche abandoned on a deserted road, with the murdered body of the woman he was seen with.
When Max finally surfaces two days after his disappearance, groggy from the effects of the drug Ecstasy, Billy has no choice but to arrest Max, especially with the mayor and the media breathing down his back. But he has lingering doubts about the case, especially about that silver luxury car seen making the left turn out of the bar immediately after Max’s car turned there. Annie, meanwhile, goes undercover to investigate the world of the victim in a move full of danger.
I really enjoyed this book. Hart’s plot shows a lot of creativity in a strong mystery . Having the characters support each other through the ordeal gave Hart the opportunity to explore each ones nature. I especially enjoyed the fact that Hennie resumes her trademark from the first several books in the series–portraying characters from detective fiction, in particular Bulldog Drummond, as a means of showing confidence in Max.
The one thing that became annoying was the repeated cries of worry by Annie, who exclaims, “Max! Max!” frequently throughout the whole course of the book. That got to be tiresome. But despite this detail, the book really kept me entertained.
Kate Reading continues as narrator of the series, and she stays true to form in her excellent reading.
I highly recommend Dead Days of Summer to anyone, but I think it will especially appeal to those who are familiar with the Death on Demand series. Those who have never read the books will not be able to appreciate the extra depths of the characters in the series but will appreciate it nonetheless. I give this book five stars.
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