Monday, April 26, 2010

LIVE Ringer

Lynda Fitzgerald
Crystal Dreams Publishing
ISBN 9781591463276
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (03/10)

Lynda Fitzgerald's "Live Ringer" is one of those books that can not be put down once you've started on it. I picked the book up in late afternoon after a long day at work, planning to read for an hour to relax. At midnight I was still up, turning the last pages of the book and holding my breath. I wanted to find out who was the villain. I also did not want it to end quite yet. But end it did, with one last, very final twist. Sleep did not come for many more hours that night. Part of my mind was churning around all of the twists and turns of this delightful read; part of it was revisiting Florida, so fascinatingly described by Ms. Fitzgerald. Even today, several days after turning that last page, I would be hard pressed to decide what I liked best – the plot, the characters, the vivid descriptions of Florida, the twisted and intertwined relationships between the characters or something else…

Allie, newly divorced and still very much unsure of herself, returns to Florida, where she used to spend some of the best times of her early life with her now deceased aunt. Having inherited her aunt's home (and – as she will soon discover– quite a few other "things"), she decides to settle down there. On the first morning after her return she stumbles upon a body of a woman on a beach not far from her home. Soon she is entangled into a very complex web of deceit, old friendships, fear, new love and much more. Fearing for her own life, she decides to fight back and discover the truth. Will that truth set her free? Or will it destroy more lives?

There is nothing boring and predictable about this book. It has enough twists and turns to keep you holding your breath for hours. The characters are believable, complex and immensely human. The situations they face, the decisions they have to make, the people they love and hate will probably make it quite easy for you to identify with at least a couple of them. Then there are the paragraphs – and pages – devoted to Florida. Ms. Fitzgerald writes about the pre-condo, non-touristy Florida, the Florida that is fast disappearing and is already missed by many. Her Florida has everyday people who actually walk their dogs, garden and talk to their neighbors; people who live in houses and not in the concrete behemoths devouring so much of Florida nowadays. Slightly nostalgic and so charming, those were some of my favorite pages in the book.

I found Lynda Fitzgerald's "Live Ringer" an altogether great read, which I would wholeheartedly recommend to anybody who enjoys a good book. A delightful mix of romance, thriller and mystery will keep most readers riveted for hours. So get a cold drink that will make you think of Florida and enjoy your journey.

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