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Dead Cereus by Kira Seamon

Witty, thoroughly endearing, and greatly entertaining

Seamon weaves the magic of traditional mystery and delightful romance into an intriguing storyline, taking readers on an exhilarating journey of a young woman’s struggle to sort out her academic life while stuck in the middle of a murder investigation. Holly Jackson is at the end of her rope: her parents have disowned her, and the college director doesn’t like her. With her scholarship at Shellesby College hanging by the thinnest thread, Holly knows she must be at her best at the college’s Night Lights Gala. But when Holly witnesses a murder, her life turns upside down. She must race against time to save her arch nemesis, secure her scholarship, and catch the murderer. Seamon is an excellently descriptive writer, sprinkling the narrative with images of herbal teas and concoctions at the Botanical college of Providence’s greenhouse (“ice cream from the college’s fresh vanilla beans, exotic teas, yummy dishes”), endearing relationship between Holly and William, and exotic plants and herbs (“shell ginger grove with its clusters of yellow and white flowers, the exotic Venus flytrap, the intimidating Rainforest Room”). Seamon takes her time setting up the story, and it’s only after a while that a major twist (Holly loses her internship to Ivy) heats up the things, and the pacing picks up. From there, the intriguing tale moves rapidly as a murder and an attempted kidnapping throw Holly into the middle of a dark web of long-buried secrets and sinister motives. Seamon’s engaging narrative places readers right in the middle of a quirky landscape that’s awash with vibrant academic life and cozy warmth of individual connections. The mystery of the professor’s bizarre murder is at the dark heart of an unfolding human drama that will leave readers reeling. The writing is layered and nuanced and the setting atmospheric. Holly, with all her obvious faults, remains a solidly engaging character. William is an absolute darling. The plot is tight and propulsive and the finale hearteningly satisfying. While the prose gets choppy at times, Seamon is a master at creating atmospheric settings, and cozy mystery lovers will find it easy to fall under her spell. An appealing, witty heroine, a gem of a leading man, and well-constructed setting and plot make this one a must-read for both mystery lovers and fans of chick-lit literature. Readers will look forward to more of Holly and William’s adventures.

Dead Cereus

By Kira Seamon

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Pub date January 18, 2022


Price $4.95 (USD) Kindle edition

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