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October 26, 2019

An Excuse for Murder by Vanessa Westermann ~ a Review

by MK French


Gary Fenris had made mistakes as a bodyguard in the past, the primary ones being letting the woman he loved die and thinking that vengeance would solve his problems. The man he killed was one of the tenants in Kate's great-aunt's homes, and she was something of an amateur sleuth and lockpick. She started looking into the murder, and Gary is drawn to her.

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March 2019; The Wild Rose Press; 978-1509225170
ebook, print (322 pages); romantic suspense
While we start with Gary and the failed bodyguard job, there isn't a lot to connect him to Wendell, the man that he killed. He had been in the town for some time, and Kate had no idea who he was other than a guy that showed up in the coffee shop occasionally. We have more slice of life in a small British town in the beginning chapters, especially with the death being explained away as a heart attack leading him to fall down the stairs. Gary keeps circling Kate, partly to see if she finds any connection to the dead body, partly because he's drawn to her. This is a slow section, but still engaging because I know why he keeps coming around, and I want to see if he slips up at all.

A lot of the story is told in conversations, with secrets of various kinds that the characters are keeping. Besides Gary murdering Wendell, there's his history with Adriana, her father trying to ruin Gary's security business, Kate's aunt losing her memory, Roselyn's past that she won't discuss, and the other man stalking Kate. It unfolds very slowly, with plenty of cute asides from the two boys "investigating" a missing gnome. I have more concern about Kate's stalker and how it all ties together with Gary's story, which it does in the final quarter of the novel. At that point, it proceeds rapidly and is hard to put down.

Buy An Excuse for Murder at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and three young children.


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