Dare to Die (Death on Demand Series #19)

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Overview

She came in the rain. Alone. On a bicycle.

Annie and Max Darling are completely unprepared when the arrival of a mysterious young woman shocks their sea island and stirs up more than just gossip.

It turns out that Iris, the beautiful stranger, is a former resident of Broward's Rock. Her arrival throws the normally happy town into a downward spiral that pits neighbor against neighbor.

Things take a turn for ...

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Dare to Die (Death on Demand Series #19)

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Overview

She came in the rain. Alone. On a bicycle.

Annie and Max Darling are completely unprepared when the arrival of a mysterious young woman shocks their sea island and stirs up more than just gossip.

It turns out that Iris, the beautiful stranger, is a former resident of Broward's Rock. Her arrival throws the normally happy town into a downward spiral that pits neighbor against neighbor.

Things take a turn for the worse when Annie befriends Iris and invites her to attend the Darlings' party at the pavilion where Death is the uninvited guest. Suddenly, Max and Annie find themselves in the middle of a fight they don't understand and at the mercy of an unknown assailant who's trying to kill them—and all they know is that it is one of their friends.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Agatha-winner Hart's winning 19th Death on Demand mystery set in Broward's Rock, S.C. (after 2008's Death Walked In), Annie Darling and her PI husband, Max, invite Iris Tilford, a troubled young woman who used to live in the island community and has recently returned, to a party they're giving at the Broward's Rock pavilion. The party ends in tragedy with Annie and Max's discovery of Iris's strangled body on a path in the surrounding pine woods. Annie promises police chief Billy Cameron she won't meddle in the investigation, but when the killer targets her and Max, she breaks her vow. The plot neatly builds to an exciting climax in the Agatha Christie tradition, with all the suspects gathered near the scene of the crime, each with a strong motive for murder. Hart assembles her usual distinctive supporting cast, including wacky celebrity mystery writer Emma Clyde. Readers will enjoy the many allusions to actual mystery authors and their books, from the classic to the contemporary. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
The bookselling Darling duo once again prowl amongst their Broward Rock friends for clues to murders past and present. While waiting for their antebellum mansion to be rehabbed, Max and Annie Darling check into Nightingale Courts, where they plan a housewarming picnic at the local pavilion. Finding another sojourner at the motel, lonely, recovering AA and NA addict Iris Tilford, Annie befriends her and invites her to the party. Most of the locals recognize Iris as the teen who left town after her co-addict Sam overdosed and his sister Jocelyn jumped off a pier, presumably in grief, and drowned. When Iris is found strangled, local mystery writer Emma Clyde, in search of a new plot, begins snooping and is promptly and predictably coshed. Naturally, Max and Annie step forward to find out whodunit. Their none too subtle queries lead to arson, another murder and secrets that have been marinating for a decade. In the manner of the Golden Age detective stories Annie carries in her mystery bookshop, Death on Demand, Annie, Max and Emma call everyone together in order to use their deductions to wrest a confession out of the guilty party, and the tragedies are tidily unraveled. Like its predecessors (Death Walked In, 2008, etc.), a cozy warranted to make more uncouth readers spit up fur balls and lace their tea with single-malt scotch. Longtime fans will welcome the usual suggestions for further mystery reading, all couched in genially undemanding prose.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061453038
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Series: Death on Demand Series , #19
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn Hart

An accomplished master of mystery, Carolyn Hart is the author of twenty previous Death on Demand novels. Her books have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. She is also the creator of the Henrie O series, featuring a retired reporter, and the Bailey Ruth series, starring an impetuous, redheaded ghost. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, Hart lives in Oklahoma City.

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Read an Excerpt

Dare to Die LP
A Death on Demand Mystery

Chapter One

Iris Tilford held tight to the Exercycle hand grips, pumped the pedals. She was the last one working out tonight in the mission gym. A cool April breeze eddied through open windows in the ramshackle building. Red, green, and purple flashed in her eyes from the pulsating neon sign above the bar across the street. She tried to block out thrumming guitars and a nasal twang singing of love gone wrong. Iris didn't like country music, but she'd closed down a lot of bars.

Her throat felt suddenly parched. A beer . . .

No. Never.

One day at a time. That's what she had to hold to, one day at a time. She pushed away memories of stuporous nights and drug-induced fantasies. One day at a time . . .

She pumped harder. That's what Kirk told her. When the demons come, push and pound and sweat. You've got seventy-three days. Keep it up, one day at a time. . . .

The gym in its former life had been Murray's Garage with an oil-stained floor, thin wooden walls, and a tin roof. Now the building housed partitioned sleeping areas for men and women, a kitchen and dining area, and a ragtag collection of exercise equipment. Iris wished the mission wasn't across from the bar and the neon flashes that pulled at her, but space was cheap in this seedy Savannah neighborhood where bar signs flickered and music wailed or thumped all through the night.

"Good going, Iris." Kirk's voice was surprisingly soft for such a big man. "Brought you some Gatorade." Kirk's face had the texture of beaten silver, but his brown eyes, eyes that had seen too much, were kind.

Iris felta moment's pride. Beaten silver. She remembered that from an art class she'd taken. . . . She drooped inside. She didn't know when or where she'd been in an art class. There were so many things she didn't remember.

He held out a plastic cup in his left hand. His right arm was a stub that poked from a floppy T-shirt sleeve.

Iris realized she was breathing in short, quick gasps. She felt dizzy. Time to stop. But when she stopped, she felt the pull of the neon. She took the cup, drank greedily.

"You're doing great." His deep voice reminded her of a bear's growl, a sunny Disney bear, not a fearsome north woods bear.

She stared at him, mournful and frightened. "I got to make it better."

"Can't remake the world in a hurry." He spoke slowly, as if there were hours and days and years enough for everything. "One day at a time."

She finished the sweet orange drink, handed him the cup. "I'll ride a little longer. That helps." Iris wiped sweat from her face, pushed back a tendril of damp hair, bent again to the handlebars. As the pedals whirred, she made her decision. Part of getting well was making things right. She couldn't change what had happened at the picnic. But she could go back to the island. Nana was dead. No one there cared about her. That made it easier to return. She couldn't have endured seeing Nana's face lined with grief. She'd broken Nana's heart. At the time, the decision had seemed simple. Leave the island, leave behind her questions and fears and doubts. Instead, she'd carried misery with her, a burden that grew heavier with the passage of time.

Iris's memory was spotty. For years she'd blocked away a picture of that night, Jocelyn hurrying into the fog, a figure slipping after her. Maybe she'd dreamed that moment. There had been so many dreams. Jocelyn's death might have had nothing to do with Iris. Iris wished she could remember the timing. Once she saw one person walk into the fog with Jocelyn. Another time she remembered a different person. Which person came last? And why, this was the terrible aching inescapable question, why hadn't anyone admitted going into the woods with Jocelyn?

Iris wouldn't know until she asked. If her fears were the product of dreams, she would finally rid herself of the deep dark emptiness that accused her. If she didn't go to the island and discover the truth, she would succumb to the insatiable lust for oblivion.

She had to be brave.

One day at a time . . .

Buck Carlisle walked at a deliberate pace to the front hall. He was never eager in the morning to leave for his office. He moved quickly and felt young and alive only during those shining moments in his workshop. Last night he'd almost finished a white pine table with a mosaic inlay. His workshop was as near heaven as he ever expected to come, the smell of wood as he planed, the feel of tools that seemed to fit into his hand as if specially made. Often he shared those moments with Terry. His daughter was the light of his life, her ebony dark hair cut in bangs above a round expressive little girl's face with brown eyes that brimmed with love for her daddy. He and Fran had been closer ever since Terry came, watching in wonder as a toddler became a little girl, so cheerful and kind and caring. Fran was much too restless to spend time in the workshop though she always admired what he made.

He paused in the hallway, reached out for his briefcase. The briefcase was a deep, rich tan, made of finest English leather with his initials in gold. Fran had given it to him for his birthday. As he gripped the handles, he saw himself in the elegant rococo Chippendale mirror. Nothing in Fran's house was anything less than perfect.

Except for him. He stared into puzzled brown eyes. He hadn't changed much since high school. Ten years later and his hair was still a thick, curly brown, his face squarish with a blunt chin, his expression befuddled. In a few minutes, his father would glare at him. "I expected the Addison brief on my desk this morning. For God's sake, Buck, most of the time I think you're half addled."

Dare to Die LP
A Death on Demand Mystery
. Copyright (c) by Carolyn Hart . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 368 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(69)

4 Star

(105)

3 Star

(109)

2 Star

(51)

1 Star

(34)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 368 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Always a new cast of characters!

    I enjoy this series because even though it all takes place on an island, there is an ever-changing cast of characters. ...so "the bad guy" isn't the one newcomer to the group. Plots are always good, and the characters worth getting to know.

    22 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2012

    Good novel

    I would personally rate this book great for teens and up. I cannot directly remember any use of profanity or sexual content. The descriptions of the murder scenes are not gory. The main characters are well developed with a an excel,ent flow to the novel.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyed the book and all of Carolyn Hart's mysteries!

    Enjoyed the book and all of Carolyn Hart's mysteries!

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A new favorite.

    Fresh take on the woman detective novel. I look forward to the next entry.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Couldn't finish

    I tried to like this book but I just couldn't care about the characters or the plot. Seemed to be trying a bit too hard and it was amatuerish.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Not my style

    I am having to force myself to read this. I just don't care. Glad this was free.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2012

    Free or not.......don't waste your time on this book!

    Poorly written, very disjointed, extremely unrealistic and corny. The author finally tried to tie things together ON THE LAST PAGE, but even that was a complete flop. A very disappointing read and a waste of time. I had to give it one star so I could write this review otherwise I would give it no stars!!!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    can't open it.

    frustated, after several tries can't open so I'm deleting it

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    Don't waste your time

    I kept trying and trying to get into this book and I just could not.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Boring

    Didnt catch me in the beginning. Too much descriptions of characters and no action. Deleting.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Hey it's a freebie.

    The book is about the death of a teenager and questions concerning the circumstances of her demise. The time frame is about a decade after her death and revolves mostly around her classmates who have come together again in a small tight knit community. The main character is the owner of a bookstore that specializes in mystery writers. The problem is that the story does not really revolve around her. Its as though she's an outsider telling the story. There is an attempt to make her character more deeply involved but its not enough to make that connection. The cast of characters are not well developed so you never really build a relationship with any of them. There are a lot of "shortcuts" taken to get from one part of the story to the next. When I finished the book my reaction was "well i'm glad that's over with". There is no foul language or racy stuff so its okay for kids to read the book, and honestly the level of detail is probably better suited for a younger audience.
    KMS

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Boring.

    Shallow, boring characters. Storyline was okay but nothing special. Basically it sucked.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    A Good Read

    This book is well written with interesting characters. It kept my interest to the very end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2012

    recommend

    A good story line, but too many useless digressions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2012

    Melllow

    Friday Freebie

    1 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Recommend

    Good read...highly recommend

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    In the 19th installment to the Death on Demand series, Annie Dar

    In the 19th installment to the Death on Demand series, Annie Darling, a bookstore owner, and her husband, P.I. Max, are confounded by a mystery that includes many upstanding local citizens. Annie is helping friends at their hotel when a lonely young woman named Iris reappears after being away for 10 years. Annie befriends her and invites her to a party where Iris meets some of her old friends. Before the night is over, Iris is dead. Are Max and Annie next? They will have to work together to solve a mystery and find a murderer who’s been hiding for a decade.
    This was an exciting adult cozy mystery. In the beginning, I felt there were too many suspects. I became confused at times. Another drawback was the use of difficult words, which made it hard to stay involved in the story. Otherwise, I loved the plot and the devoted relationship between the two main characters. If only I could go to the Death on Demand bookstore and take a tai chi class.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Death on Demand

    A very entertaining novel that really keeps you wondering "who done it.". A very good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    Not for me

    This just didnt click for me. Too slow in the beginning with so many characters and details. After page 75, I skipped to the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

    Cute sleuthing couple

    The sleuths in this book, Max and Annie Darling, reminded me of Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers in Hart to Hart. They manage to get themselves involved in mysteries. This one involved a group of people who where former classmates, one gets murdered and it seems to be connected to the deaths of two classmates many years ago. The extents the killer goes to seem a little overboard for the character, but it was a good summer read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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