Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Secondhand Smoke

Awakened one morning by a loud commotion, Annie Seymour wanders outside to the cold November streets -- only to discover that Prego, a favorite Italian eatery at her New Haven neighbourhood, is engulfed in flames. Even more shocking is the dead body pulled from the rubble.

The unexpected arrival of her father, a Vegas casino boss, raises Annie's suspicions about what might have been going on at Prego. To complicate things even further, the restaurant owner's wife hires hunky private eye Vinny DeLucia. Annie and Vinny have some unfinished business, but she's eager to stay focused on this story--until the story becomes a little too much for her.

Now an infamous mobster, a missing man, a dead woman, and a cast of local characters begin to converge around Annie and pose some scary questions about her father's connection to the crime. Between the FBI, her would-be hero Vinny, and some raucous animal rights protestors, Annie must see through the familiar historic town houses, worn-our sidewalks, and back alleys of her youth to determine a killer's motives -- and avoid being burned next... (Synopsis from the book jacket)

First sentence: I smelled smoke.

Isn't that a short and sweet sentence? Secondhand Smoke is the second book of the Annie Seymour Mystery series and is a page-turner. With every turn of event, you would want to know what happens next. The plot thickens and it reads like a breeze. Before you know it, you've reached the satisfying end of the 259-page novel. I dare say you will have no trouble finishing it in one sitting.

Annie Seymour, the protagonist of the story, is a (one of a kind) 40-year-old police reporter with a colourful vocabulary. You can count on her to be at crime scenes. The cops can't stand her and she's proud to be an antisocial. Besides the latest crime that had struck the place where she lives (the synopsis sums it up pretty nicely), something else is also brewing between her and Vinny. Some romantic undercurrent.

It's fun to read Annie Seymour and I think she's a smart lady. I am already getting comfortably acquainted with her -- just like how I befriended Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton's The Famous Five many, many years ago. Expect a lot of funny dialogue with a great plot. I will not hesitate to get the third book, Dead of the Day. I hope to read more about Annie and Vinny there.

Note: I was introduced to this author by Wendy of Musings of a Bookish Kitty.

Related post: Sacred Cows