Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Silent Knife

Silent Knife (Celebration Bay - Book 2) by Shelley Freydont

Publication Date: 09/03/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425252388
ISBN-13: 978-0425252383

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Shelley Freydont on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Foul Play at the Fair (2012), Silent Knife (2013)

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Silent Knife, courtesy of the author's website.


Celebration Bay is full of yuletide cheer—
but it’s hard to remain festive when someone’s out to slay Santa. 
It’s Liv Montgomery’s first Christmas out of Manhattan and in Celebration Bay. They’ve got a tree to rival Rockefeller Center’s, but this year’s holidays are turning out to be a disaster. As the small town’s event planner, Liv wants everything to be perfect. Unfortunately, the local Christmas shop has been replaced by the gaudy Trim a Tree—complete with tacky ornaments and a new replacement Santa who isn’t spreading any cheer.
At the town’s annual Celebration of Lights, Trim a Tree is the only shop left unlit. Liv, furious, goes to investigate, and discovers something even less festive—the store’s new Santa has been murdered. Small-town gossip begins to stir, and Liv must clear the name of the previous town Santa just in the nick of time before the real killer ruins Christmas.


Shelley Freydont continues the Celebration Bay mystery series, with her latest offering, Silent Knife. Set during the Christmas season, readers are in for the gift of good storytelling. Freydont's use of small town charm and down home characters make this series a fun read for cozy enthusiasts. With a tacky Christmas store, a less than pleasant shopkeeper and a dead Santa, how could she go wrong? Freydont's witty banter and humorous dialogue will keep the reader invested in the story and hoping that the Grinch doesn't steal Christmas in Celebration Bay.

I love a good Christmas cozy don't you? Well any book set during the holidays tends to make me nostalgic and sentimental, but when it's a good whodunit, that's all the better. Shelley Freydont's Celebration Bay is a small town that thrives on tourism and festivals. I liked the idea and thought the Christmas setting was realistic and fitting for the series. Freydont set up the town in her previous book in the series, Foul Play at the Fair. This is a town readers will find enchanting and the shopkeepers quirky and interesting. A very good setting!

In keeping with the small town atmosphere, Freydont has created several shops for Celebration Bay that put the reader in mind of a very tasteful and charming aesthetic. When a very gaudy and over the top Christmas store opens, it is not in kind with the what the town is trying to portray to the tourists. The merchandise is tacky and cheap and they have hired an unauthorized Santa that has some townspeople angry and somewhat ashamed. Freydont was able to convey the outrage of the town in such a way that the reader really could see that someone might have it in for the new disreputable Santa. 

I had this one figured out early on, but I was a little unclear on the motive, when it is finally revealed I was thoroughly surprised. I had a hard time figuring out why the new Santa was the target of killer at first. I thought perhaps if should have been the shop owner, Grace, but it was still a good whodunit. There were plenty of suspects and motives to go around and Freydont was able to keep the reader reading despite the fact that the killer was fairly obvious. I think the strength of this one was really in the townspeople and the relationships that the reader fosters with the characters that propelled it along. 

The prime suspect is of course the town Santa and it's up to heroine Liv Montgomery to find the killer. I liked the fact that Liv was so invested in the whole investigation. Being the event coordinator for the town, her reputation is on the line as well as the towns. I liked her spunk and determination to see the killer brought to justice. Her relationship with Chaz is explored a little further in this book as well. I liked banter between these two characters and Chaz's sarcastic wit was fun to read. I'm not sure these two are meant to be more than friends but it was interesting to contemplate. 

This is only the second book in the series and it has a lot of potential. I don't think it's quite there yet. But I'm hopeful that it will even out a little bit and become less predictable. I think Freydont is an excellent storyteller and I enjoy her other cozy series'. I think she just needs to get in a groove with this one. There is a lot to work with here and I think it will only get better. Looking forward to the next one in the series!

Silent Knife is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Shelley Freydont is the author of the Liv Montgomery, Celebration Bay Festival Mysteries (Berkeley Prime Crime). She also writes the Katie McDonald Sudoku murder series and Lindy Haggerty Dance Company mystery series. She has written several romance novels under the pseudonym Gemma Bruce. Her books have been translated into seven languages.

Her first women's fiction novel, Beach Colors, written as Shelley Noble, was published by William Morrow June 2012. Stargazey Point will be available July 2013.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, she most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. Shelley is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Silent Knife by Shelley Freydont.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, November 8th.

1. Please leave a comment describing a favorite of funny moment with someone playing Santa.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


justpeachy36 said...

One of the most memorable things I can remember about Santa, is taking my daughters to see him at the mall when they were 4 and 2. I have the cutest photo of my 4 year old smiling and my 2 year slapping Santa!!! LOL she hasn't changed a bit!

holdenj said...

After waiting in line with a year old and four year old, it was finally our turn to be next for Santa. My son leaned forward out of the stroller and tumbled into the sign holding brochures for pictures. Luckily, he wasn't seriously hurt or upset, but had a big red mark on his cheek for us to remember the adventure by!.

Rita Wray said...

Many years ago my mother dressed up as Santa and not one of the grandkids knew it. It was hilarious.

Karen B said...

A friend was working as an elf greeting the kids and directing them to the line for santa. Imagine all the other kids surprise when mine greeted her by name!

Linda said...

I dressed for son's class Christmas play - no padding at the time. Hard to be jolly with itchy beard, suit, boots that hurt my feet; but I managed to HO HO HO my way through to the end of present distribution. Thank goodness no kids sitting on lap reciting long lists of Christmas wishes!

bn100 said...

Don't know anyone who's played Santa

Dotty Kelley said...

A friend took her youngest daughter to see Santa. After she told Santa what she wanted, as she was getting off Santa's lap, she tripped over his boot and fell. She wasn't hurt but later at home when her dad got home from work he said, "I heard you talked to Santa today". The little girl nodded and said: "Ho-Ho kicked me". We all still laugh at that 20 years later.

ann said...

Well I dont know about funny moments but my brother (whose now passed) always dressed as Santa every year and visited family and friends house , also gathered presents for underprivileged kids and took them to them.
I would say the time one of the kids tried to pull
off his beard and to their surprise it didnt come off (he had a white beard) so they thought he was the real one.

Anita Yancey said...

I don't know of anybody who has played Santa. But I would love to read this book.

cyn209 said...

one of the best funny moment of someone playing Santa was many years ago, my cousin's husband would always play Santa for our younger cousins.....it would be a lot of fun every year, until one year, one of the cousins figured out who was playing Santa; so the following year, my cousin's FATHER-IN-LAW played Santa & the look on the younger cousin who thought he figured it out the year before, was absolutely priceless!!!

thank you for the giveaway!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Linda Kish said...

I don't know anyone who has played Santa. I'd still like a chance for the book, please.

Brooke Showalter said...

I don't know anyone who has played Santa, but my Pappy Lyle had a white beard...one year, on Christmas eve, all of the family was at our house for dinner. My little sister refused to even walk into the living room because she thought Pappy Lyle was Santa, and she was terrified! She cried the whole night.