With Baited BreathWith Baited Breath by Lorraine Bartlett is the first book in the new “Lotus Bay” mystery series. Publisher: Polaris Press, January 2014

Tori Cannon and her grandfather, Herb, return from her grandmother’s funeral, and it’s with sadness that she learns the bait shop and small motel they ran has fallen on hard times. Jammed into one of the motel’s units is the body of one of Herb’s customers, his mouth filled with spikes. The victim had no enemies, except for the rich woman who wanted to level his eyesore of a home. But he’s also got a daughter who’s resentful her father wasn’t a major force in her life, and friends who were anything but.

Tori’s friend, Kathy, arrives to help spruce up the property, and the two of them find themselves mixed up in the petty jealousies and deadly consequences that murder entails. Can they save the bait shop and find a murderer or will they, too, sleep with the fishes?

I like the possibilities that exist with this new series. Kathy and Tori are best friend and they are both embarking on a future in their new hometown, but before that could happen, they will have to solve the murder of the dead man found in Tori’s grandfather lodges. With reconnecting with a long ago friend, missing journal pages, a decrepit house, a bait shop, unkempt lodges, a wealthy landowner and lights in the dark all played significant roles in this new series that was hard to put down. I like the pacing and how well this drama was executed to set me up for an ending that I didn’t see coming. This was a very enjoyable read and I can’t wait to see how the possibilities turn out for Tori and her friends.

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