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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Book Review: The K-Frost Caper by James Blakley

The K-Frost Caper is an approximately 194 page mystery/crime story written by James Blakley and published by Inkwater Press. Most of the story takes place in sunny Miami, Florida where Luna Nightcrow, an insurance fraud investigator works to uncover the truth about what appears to be insurance fraud and a possible missing person's case.

Her talents are showcased to us in the first chapter as she recovers for the insurance company a valuable 19th century Cherokee talisman. We learn of her guts and bravery as she faces her informant's murderer in a dark alley in a small gambling town in Oklahoma.

Despite her tough exterior, she reveals an occasional tender side when she expresses loneliness even if it's only to us as the reader. Even though her physical description is only referred to as cinnamon colored skin and long raven hair, it's hard not to assume that she must be strikingly beautiful. I did note what seemed to me as some inconsistencies in her character development.

In her first scene, she is described as wearing a black bolero jacket, jeans and boots, typical attire, I guess for a casino in Oklahoma. But then when she is on her next assignment in Miami, she is described as wearing a navy pantsuit, pink scoop neck top, heels and bling and later a gray skirt, pink shell and heels. (I guess she likes pink)

When she gets into real field work, she wears jeans, a t-shirt and tennis shoes. With these drastic differences, I found it hard to get a feel for her character. She seemed like a simple girl on some occasions, eating biscuits and gravy for breakfast, but on other occasions, she would relax into first class on a flight and sip espresso. Maybe that was the point. Maybe she was a quandary of sorts.

As mentioned earlier, it was easy to assume at first that she was beautiful, so I was disappointed when the author speaks about her "love handles" when she goes swimming in the hotel pool. I wondered then if she had a bit of middle aged chubbiness. The most striking things about her character were her bravery and guts. She didn't seem to have any fear approaching what one would think would be dangerous situations. Of course, she did carry a .38 sometimes and always a 650,000 volt stun gun.

Mr. Blakley slowly develops an exciting romance between Luna and the detective (Tiago) who meets her at the airport and brings her to the police station to brief her on the case. The sexual tension that builds between them is pretty cool and although there is no graphic sex in the book, the relationship  between them is somewhat steamy and engaging. You definitely find yourself hoping that things will work out between them. Additionally, there is only mild language and some descriptive violence but not so much that I would call it graphic or gore.

There are plenty of characters to learn and sometimes it was a big confusing as to who was who. I had to go back and reread a page or two to remind myself who Ms. Crossley was. They were a couple of times that I thought I had figured out who was the villian(s) and then I was wrong. So, the suspense was there all the way until the last chapter. I also liked the way that the action sequences would burst out of nowhere maybe at a point when you might be thinking that the story was getting "slow". Those instances kept me reading until I finished the book in three days.

There were some scenes of predictability. Like when Luna and Tiago go to meet with Quinn Wu who has some information for them. I pretty much expected the outcome that is presented. As to the title: K-Frost Caper, this is explained early in the book. The subject of the insurance fraud investigation is a man named Kelvin Frost who applies for life insurance in Alabama, drowns without a body being found and then applies for life insurance again in Florida.

But when Luna gets there, it is told to her that a man named Kelvin Frost was murdered just prior to her coming. A previous insurance investigator who was sent before Luna is also missing, so actually the story is a big mysterious mess that Luna has to be sharp enough to sort through it all without getting hurt herself.

I noticed in the reading a couple of typos and a few grammatical errors. Also, there is some Spanish spoken by one of the characters that is not explained and that is a bit frustrating.  But Mr. Blakley's writing style is deliciously engaging and wonderfully creative. I gave the book a 4 out of 5 star review on Amazon.com. This is an honest, paid-for review.

The K-Frost Caper by James Blakley



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