Murder on the Orient EspressoMurder on the Orient Espresso by Sandra Balzo is the eighth book in the “Maggy Thorsen” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House, December 2013

It’s November and Maggy Thorsen, co-owner of the Wisconsin gourmet coffeehouse, Uncommon Grounds, is in South Florida at an annual crime-writers’ conference with her beau, local sheriff Jake Pavlik, who is due to speak as a ‘forensics expert’.

Maggy’s pledge to behave solely as a tourist becomes trickier than she anticipated when the conference’s opening night event turns out to be a re-enactment of Agatha Christie’s classic, Murder on the Orient Express. As Maggy and Jake reluctantly set off on the night train to the Everglades to solve the ‘crime’, it’s clear that, as in the original novel, nothing is quite what it seems. And amidst rumors of careers taken, manuscripts stolen and vows broken, it seems that in the Everglades – as in life – the predator all too often becomes the prey.

This is a great addition to the Maggy Thorsen series. We find our intrepid heroine and Jake in Florida, in the middle of the Everglades, aboard a train when one of the guest is found in murky waters on the train’s bed. Imagine all kinds of creepy things going on and that is what you have in this riveting drama filled with non-stop action and a suspenseful nature that kept me glued to the pages as all the pieces came together towards the end. The author did a very good job in delivery a finely tuned novel with plenty of suspects and a couple of twist that I didn’t see coming, especially when the killer was reveal. Great job! I enjoyed the interactions between Maggy and the rest of the cast, especially those light airy moments and the mention of one of my favorite movies involving a snake and a plane. Boasting a strong plot, a good secondary cast, entertaining dialogue and an interesting location, this engaging whodunit is one of the best in this series.

FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book, in hopes I would review it.

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