Britt Montero is staying on a blissfully solitary tropical
island while healing from the death of her fiancé when her
best friend, photographer Lottie Dane, shows up. Lottie and Britt
go surfing, and soon after expressing the wish that they'd brought
a camera to capture the glorious views, they find one in the surf.
It's a waterproof disposable camera with three exposures to go. So,
while Lottie fills Britt in on what's happening back home in Miami
and at the newspaper they both work for, they snap a few
Britt is intrigued to learn that the Cold Case Squad is looking for
her. She is also suffering from cash flow problems, so she decides
to head home with Lottie. They leave contact info with locals in
case the camera owner appears, and then they fly on home.
Back at work, Britt persuades her editor to let her return to the
police beat, although he seems reluctant. Lottie shows her the
photos she's developed from the found camera. The pictures portray
a vibrant, handsome young couple obviously in love, probably on
their honeymoon. Britt can't help but feel sad; if Kendall McDonald
hadn't died, the pictures of the tropical honeymoon might have been
of Kendall and Britt.
At the police station, Britt discovers that the notorious
kidnapper, Spencer York, has been murdered. York had been a
kidnapper-for-hire for fathers without custody of their children,
and his methods had been brutal. Britt had been instrumental in his
arrest and imprisonment; she also had spoken to him right before he
jumped bail. Now he is dead, and there are too many suspects.
Britt gets an even bigger shock when she sees a Coast Guard alert
for newlyweds missing on their honeymoon. She recognizes the
photos. It's the same couple whose happy faces had appeared on the
film from the camera she and Lottie found on the beach.
Britt's personal story weaves through and between the two mystery
plots --- and it packs some startling revelations. The characters
in LOVE KILLS are fleshed out, three-dimensional and real, and
they're surrounded by lots of terrific Miami atmosphere, capturing
the flavor of the city. Edna Buchanan is masterly at pulling the
reader along with clever cliffhangers; she also incorporates a
chase scene that manages to be thrilling, frightening and crazily
hilarious. Three plot twists truly surprised and delighted this
jaded, seen-it-all mystery reader.
LOVE KILLS is pure enjoyment, and while Buchanan is a new author to
me (where have I been?), I plan to read every book she has had
published --- ASAP.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on January 7, 2011