cover image SHADOW OVER CEDAR KEY: A Brandy O'Bannon Mystery

SHADOW OVER CEDAR KEY: A Brandy O'Bannon Mystery

Ann Turner Cook, Author . iUniverse/Mystery & Suspense $16.95

In Cook's lackluster second novel featuring newspaper reporter Brandy O'Bannon (after 2001's Trace Their Shadows), Brandy and her husband, John, come to the proudly old-fashioned community of Cedar Key, Fla., for a long weekend. Intrigued by a classified ad asking the whereabouts of a woman and child who vanished in the area during a hurricane 20 years earlier, Brandy thinks there may be a story in it. John, hoping for a romantic weekend, is bored and irritable. Much of the action centers on the town's historic hotel: the private investigator who placed the ad is staying there, as are Brandy and John; the dining-room waitress may be the missing child; a skeleton found in a basement cistern may be the missing woman. Like many a plucky young heroine before her, Brandy plunges headlong into this multilayered mystery, ignoring police warnings and her increasingly resentful husband. An overly busy plot, alas, is weighed down with limp prose and repetition, including scenes of Brandy making endless lists of what she has learned and what she plans to do next. The tantalizing glimpses of the charming Cedar Key, deliberately turning its back on the tourist dollar, make readers wish for a stronger sense of place. (POD)