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review 2017-02-05 18:51
Played to Death
Played to Death - B.V. Lawson

The first in a new series featuring "consultant criminologist" Scott Drayco, once a child-prodigy whose hopes of a great career as a concert pianist were dashed when his right arm was crushed by a car door during a car-jacking incident.

 

Now he is ex-FBI and working on his own. A grateful client has left him the old Opera House in a run-down west-coast resort named Cape Unity. A white elephant, he assumes, but as he makes plans to pay a visit and see about selling the place, he receives a request to act on behalf of a certain Oakley Keys, who lives right there in Cape Unity. They arrange to meet at the Opera House to discuss Oakley Keys' problem.

 

When Drayco arrives, he finds Keys lying on the stage, dead. Murdered and mutilated.

 

There is a good mix of characters, all the various types you would expect to find in such a setting plus some you wouldn't, and it is so well-plotted that I for one did not know whodunit till the very end. All right, it's a bit slow and chatty at times, but there are patches of very fine writing, and I would definitely recommend it to all who enjoy a small-town murder mystery with a visiting private eye who has to cope with the all-too-predictable small-town xenophobia.

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review 2016-07-12 22:46
Played to Death: Scott Drayco Mystery #1
Played to Death - B.V. Lawson

BOOK BLURB: Still suffering nightmares from a case that ended tragically, brilliant freelance crime consultant Scott Drayco considers retiring from crime solving altogether. When a former client bequeaths Drayco a rundown Opera House in a Virginia seaside town, he figures he'll arrange for a quick sale of the place while nursing his battered soul in a peaceful setting near the shore. What he doesn't count on is finding a dead body on the Opera House stage with a mysterious "G" carved into the man's chest.

 

With hopes for a quick sale dashed and himself a suspect in the murder, Drayco digs into old secrets buried like shells beneath the sand in order to solve the crime and clear his name. Along the way, Drayco must dodge a wary Sheriff, hostility over coastal development, and the seductive wife of a town councilman—before the tensions explode into more violence and he becomes the next victim.

 

MY TAKE: Drayco's inner demons aren't afraid to bubble up close to the surface and wrap their tendrils around his mind, but he does a pretty good job of keeping himself calm and steady on the surface--a good skill to have when you're a former member of the FBI turned crime consultant who's just inherited an abandoned, derelict Opera House with--what else--a dead body inside. There are lots of twists and turns in this one, as people from a past mostly forgotten have a way of making their voices heard, and the deeper Drayco digs, the more the past and present intertwine. I had a little difficulty keeping the cast of characters straight in my head at first, but I enjoyed figuring out who the killer is even though I initially had the wrong motivation. There's a bit more blood than I'm used to since I generally stick to cozies, but there's by no means over-the-top gore.

 

LAGNIAPPE: Drayco drives a blue Starfire, which I had never heard of before, so I decided to look it up. Pretty cool .

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video 2014-07-18 20:34

A body in a rundown Opera House.
Simmering resentment in a small Virginia coastal town.
A missing manuscript.
A dark family secret.

When crime consultant Scott Drayco is bequeathed a derelict Opera House in a rundown Virginia fishing village, he doesn't count on finding a body on stage. And that's just the beginning of his troubles....  (More at bvlawson.com)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2012-08-01 00:00
Ill-Gotten Games (A Scott Drayco Mystery)
Ill-Gotten Games (A Scott Drayco Mystery) - B.V. Lawson I got this book for free from Making Connections, in exchange for an honest review. Get your copy here.

A rich spoilt kid is using his dad’s money as a crutch to escape jail by blaming an innocent man. The good guys are trying to prove otherwise. For that they need to find the elusive accomplice who thinks its fun to make the lawyers play treasure hunt.
The story begins like a typical law firm novel but all that changes halfway into it. Then it becomes the latter half of a movie with lots of action.
That the author could fit all of this into a short story and make me connect to the characters makes me want to read more of his work.
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