Dare to Die

Published April 21, 2012 by myliteraryleanings

Review of Dare to Die by Carolyn Hart

Overview from www.bn.com:

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.

My Review:

Dare to Die was hard to classify when I was thinking about what categories to put it in for a review. The best way I would classify it would be to say that it is a short, intriguing mystery.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this book is one of a series of mysteries written by Ms. Hart that take place on a South Carolina island. I couldn’t discern from the text whether or not the island was real or fictional, nor where exactly it was located but I don’t think that the reader needs to know that to enjoy the story.

The first chapter actually begins off the island with the character of Iris Tilford who is trying to going sober at a mission somewhere in Savannah. We learn that besides fighting the demons of alcoholism and drug abuse she is also fighting demons related to her friends’ death. She has plans to return to the island soon, to put her fears to rest. Of course if she knew what awaited her there, she might have reconsidered.

Then we go to scenes from the lives of all of our main characters. I have to be honest and say it confused me a lot. I thought there’s no way I am going to remember all of these people and their names. And for a while I was lost, then I finally caught up.

The main character, a woman named Annie, emerged and I was guided by her. It started with her introduction to Iris, followed by Annie inviting Iris to her party that same night. That night, Iris is killed. Soon after Annie admits to having a swim and a semi-intimate conversation with Iris, an attempt is made on the lives of Annie and her husband.

Things seem to get weirder and weirder as strange confessions are made to Annie by some of her former friends.  All of them seem to have a reason to want Iris Tilford dead. Some of them are downright hostile when Iris announces that she wants to do something to honor Iris’s memory but which one of them actually killed her? This is the question that Annie is determined to answer, even if it puts her own life in jeopardy.

I liked this one. It may not be in my top ten but I liked it. It was not too much of typical mystery (except for the Agatha Christie type gathering at the end that made the murder do something desperate). I liked Emma, the local island celebrity mystery writer who helps Annie. But most of all I liked that it was a mystery that didn’t center too much on blood and gore, graphic sex, or lots of foul language. I guess this is what they call a cozy mystery and I can see why they have become popular. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good mystery that is not too drawn out.

Contains: some foul language

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