Killer Cruise by Laura Levine is the 8th book in the “Jaine Austen” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, May 2009

Things are already off to a rocky start when Jaine discovers a stowaway amidst her luggage – her persnickety cat Prozac. To make matters worse, Prozac is also spotted by the ship’s steward, an aspiring writer who quickly uses his advantage to blackmail Jaine into editing his massive handwritten manuscript. So much for seven days of sun, fun, and relaxation.

Jaine’s sinking sensation grows stronger at dinner, where she meets chatty Emily Pritchard, a wealthy seventy-year-old who’s traveling with her bossy personal secretary, Ms. Nesbitt, and her nephews, arrogant investment banker Kyle, and his ruggedly handsome brother Robbie. Jaine can’t help noticing the tension among them, especially when the cruise’s charming – and sleazy – British dancer, Graham, whisks Emily out onto the dance floor and keeps her there for the rest of the evening.

Soon Emily is accepting Graham’s invitations to every social event on the ship even though her nephews and Ms. Nesbitt clearly don’t approve. And when the bubbly couple announces their engagement just two nights later, no one is more surprised than Graham’s long time girlfriend Cookie. But the news is quickly overshadowed the next morning by the discovery of Graham’s body with an ice pick protruding from his chest.

The captain is quick to accuse Cookie, but Jaine suspects there are more sharks in the water. Was money-hungry Kyle protecting his inheritance? Perhaps Ms. Nesbitt was attempting to regain control over Emily’s life? Or could the notorious lothario have fallen to one of his many paramours? And what about Robbie? Although Jaine finds herself falling for him, she can’t help but wonder if he’s been completely honest with her. Between hiding a furry fugitive, flirting with Robbie, and baiting the hook for a clever murderer, Jaine is about to dive into her most dangerous case yet…

This was a fun book to read especially the emails between, Jaine, her parents and Lance. I look forward to reading the next book in this series. My rating: 3.5 stars

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