Regional theater fans will welcome Price’s engaging first mystery featuring Ohio crime analyst Caitlyn Tilson Pepper. When Cait receives word from a lawyer that she’s inherited from her father’s twin sister (a relative she didn’t even know existed) a vineyard and two Shakespearean theaters in northern California, she at first can’t believe it. But the chance that she is indeed this unknown aunt’s rightful heir is enough to prompt her to fly to California, where she soon finds herself, with the aid of Royal “RT” Tanner, a Navy SEAL and stage manager of the theaters, looking into her aunt’s mysterious death as well as other suspicious recent deaths. Despite attempts on her life, Cait decides to give up her job and relocate to California in order to ferret out the truth. The ending will catch most readers by surprise. (Aug.)
When an unknown aunt names Ohio crime analyst Cait Pepper as sole beneficiary in her will, the promise of inheriting a mansion, vineyard, and outdoor theater brings a dubious Cait out to northern California. All is not peaceful on the estate: the aunt's death is suspicious, arson fires have damaged the outdoor theater, and the locals aren't exactly thrilled to meet Cait. Her only ally seems to be Royal Tanner, the theater's stage manager, who is really a Navy SEAL watching over the place. As Cait learns more about her own mysterious family, the drama heightens. Consider your Shakespeare plots while reading. VERDICT If your readers long for a gentle romantic suspense title, then Price's debut might fit the bill. Guilty of too much nonessential information and abrupt transitions, Price nonetheless offers a beautifully described setting, an intriguing series premise, and an appealing heroine who can hold her own.
An unexpected inheritance gives recently widowed Ohio crime analyst Caitlyn Tilson Pepper loads of chances to exercise her investigative talents. When Cait receives a phone call from a California lawyer telling her that she's inherited a vineyard and two Shakespearean theaters, she thinks it's an April Fools' joke. Finally convinced, Cait makes the trip and discovers that Tasha Tilson Bening was her aunt, her father's unknown-to-her twin. Since her parents are both dead, it's up to Cait to make sense of the family secrets on her own. She meets Navy SEAL Royal Tanner, who's been watching the place on Tasha's behalf ever since a series of unsettling incidents occurred, and Tasha's secretary, Marcus Singer, whose criminal record and unforthcoming demeanor make for an uneasy relationship with his new boss. After learning that her aunt's death may have been murder rather than the heart attack attorney Stanton Lane had mentioned, Cait must decide whether she wants to remain on the valuable and fascinating property or return to Ohio. As Cait digs deeper into her family's past, she uncovers some shocking news that will change her life. But the troubling past may not be the only factor to place her in mortal danger if she continues with her plans to take over the reins of her aunt's enterprises. Suspense and romance, though not much mystery, meet in Price's debut, first in a planned series.