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Friday, December 18, 2015

Paint the Town Dead: An Aurora Anderson Mystery By Sybil Johnson

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Freelance computer programmer and website designer Aurora “Rory” Anderson never expected that her latest project for Vista Beach’s newest hotel would lead to a rock being thrown through her window.

The Akaw hotel has riled more than a few in the Los Angeles coastal region, as the construction of the underground parking structure damaged nearby homes and has guests taking up slots on the streets and blocking driveways. Rory had no idea that her designs, along with the website she constructed to promote the decorative painting convention being held at the Akaw, would make her a target of vandalism by angry protestors.

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The Ocean Painting Society’s inaugural convention was a reunion of “The Four Musketeers,” friends from high school who include Rory, Brandy Whitaker, Jasmine Halliday, and Jasmine’s husband Peter. Their first meeting begins rather dramatically when Jasmine suffers an attack of cataplexy related to her narcolepsy, but her initial quick recovery to consciousness is soon followed by a far more final nap during a false fire alarm.

Although Rory is shocked to learn that Jasmine had previously attempted suicide, Rory is unable to accept that Jasmine would have intentionally overdosed on her medication again during their reunion. Rory is reassured to know that Detective Martin Green is on the case, but this time he is unwilling to investigate what he believes to be a suicide.

Unable to accept his conclusion, Rory pursues her own investigation that has her breaking into rooms, tossed into a dumpster, and blackmailed by a rogue private investigator. For a new hotel hosting an artistic conference, there is an alarming abundance of red herrings, criminal acts, and shameful secrets.

Image source: Henery Press

This second in the series continues the introduction of an engaging and likable protagonist. Rory is a mature character who continues to grow, and it is compelling to see her adjust to the unexpected, but completely understandable, changes in her life.

Rory’s hesitation with Martin Green may have caused her to miss a window of opportunity for a relationship, but what is refreshing is that the author avoids taking the expected path when introducing his new girlfriend. The artistic theme takes a sideline to the characters and their complicated personal lives, but there are enough details about painting and its instruction to please any cozy reader. It is the devotion to uncovering the truth about her friend that drives Rory, and this is what ensures that readers will follow this sympathetic and relatable heroine.

To enter to win a copy of Paint the Town Dead, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “paint,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 26, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

This book is published by Henery Press, if you would like to know more about their books you can visit their website: henerypress.com

Use this link to purchase the book:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Great review.. I can always count on a review that "wets my whistle" for another adventure. kat8762@aol.com

  2. This sounds like a great series. I am adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for the review and chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

  3. Love this kind of book!! Love mysteries! I need to put this series on my TBR list!! Thanks for the chance to win and Merry Christmas!!