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Killer Summer    by Lynda Curnyn order for
Killer Summer
by Lynda Curnyn
Order:  USA  Can
Red Dress Ink, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Zoe, Sage and Nick, who are in their early thirties and have been friends since high school, have planned an awesome summer to spend weekends at the beach at Fire Island. The three are shareholders at a beach house called Maggie's Dream, owned by Sage's boss Tom and his second wife Maggie. Tom is the successful owner of Edge, a designer line of leatherwear, and Sage works with Tom and Maggie. On the evening of the trio's arrival, Maggie is preparing a gourmet dinner and realizes that she is short an ingredient. She places a frantic call to Zoe, asking her to shop on her way to the island. Zoe arrives late, finding only Tom, angry at Maggie's absence with dinner only half-prepared. Uncomfortable with Tom's state of mind, Zoe takes Maggie's dog (Janis Joplin) for a walk - Janis immediately leads Zoe to her mistress, naked and dead on the beach.

Maggie's sudden death means that the summer is not going to simply be a matter of sipping margaritas and working on a tan. The police quickly rule it accidental, but Zoe is suspicious. Maggie was too Martha Stewart-ish to simply strip and swim, naked and alone, on the eve of a dinner party. Zoe, a documentary filmmaker, begins discreetly digging around and asking questions, including filming the Fourth of July bash that Tom oddly insists on throwing shortly after his wife's funeral. Zoe also wonders about two of Tom's colleagues, who have beach houses on Fire Island and claim to have 'loved Maggie like a sister.' Sage and Nick have other plans to find a 'summer love'. Both think Zoe is imagining things. Also, Nick is trying to launch a record label, and Sage is hoping to further her career by taking over Maggie's position (after all, someone has to do it). As tensions rise, Zoe, Sage and Nick stop pining for the good times and wonder if they will survive a 'killer summer.'

Chick lit fans will enjoy the novel's juicy subplots incorporating ocean views, beach parties and summer romance, while the mystery angle adds an intriguing twist. I thoroughly enjoyed Curnyn's Confessions of an Ex-Girlfriend, as she creates funny, interesting characters and has a lively writing style. Those same elements are present in Killer Summer, along with the mystery. Kudos to Curnyn for thinking outside the box.

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