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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Killer Image (Allison Campbell Mystery #1)Killer Image by Wendy Tyson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Killer Image by Wendy Tyson
I received a free copy of **Killer Image** from Net Galley in exchange for an honest Review.

**Killer Image** is the first book in Wendy Tyson's *Allison Campbell Mystery Series*. It begins with the murder of Arnie Feldman, a prominent divorce attorney who has made a few enemies during his career. One of these enemies is Mia, Allison's former mother-in-law, who very publicly threatened Arnie's life.

Allison Campbell owns and operates an image consultant business, and she is approached by politician Hank McBride and his wife Sunny to help with preparing their daughter, Maggie, to be more compliant with social behavior and her appearance. McBride wants to run for higher government office, and he wants to be able to have Maggie appear with the family to help him campaign. Maggie is a teenager who is rebelling from everyone and everything from her dress (Goth) to her social activity. Her boyfriend is the son of Arnie Feldman, and because of some of Maggie's activities, she becomes a person of interest in the Feldman murder investigation. When she and Allison first meet, Maggie refuses to cooperate with any of Allison's suggestions, but as time goes by, they become closer. Allison had a very bad experience with a teenage girl some years before, and she remains haunted by feelings of inadequacy and responsibility for that outcome. That is why she doesn't give up on working with Maggie; she doesn't want to abandon Maggie to a bully of a father and an ineffective mother. As a result of her involvement with both Maggie and Mia, Allison is drawn further and further into the murder investigation. Allison doesn't believe either female capable of killing someone, but the facts indicate either one could be.

One of the peripheral characters is Christopher Vaughn. He is employed as Allison's business manager, but he is also Allison's friend. He has a full plate of secrets of his own he tries very hard to protect while he also works with Allison on the murder investigation. For me, he was a very interesting character because of the way in which he has to juggle what amounts to his public and private persona. He adds more depth to an already layered story, and this serves to make the book even more interesting.

Wendy Tyson has taken on some heavy topics in this mystery, and she pulled it off by creating a storyline with vibrant characters it was difficult for me to want to stop reading about. Parts of the story are quite emotional with issues of abandonment, extreme disability, and romantic quandary being explored. These problems have no easy answers, yet all are handled very thoughtfully. In addition, while there was a satisfactory ending for the book, there is also the wish for a sequel and more of Allison Campbell in the future. I want to be at the front of the line for anything further in a Campbell series.

I would recommend this mystery to any reader who likes a little more meat on her mystery bone. Be prepared to be drawn into some very interesting characters. I'd also like to give a shout-out to Henery Press. I'm beginning to find that they publish a variety of very good mystery writers, and I have not once been disappointed with any of their publications. In fact, they are responsible for making my TBR pile grow even bigger. That's a good thing, right?

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