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by Kris Neri

Rainbow Books, Inc.
Hardcover ISBN: 1-56825-077-0
Trade Softcover ISBN: 1-56825-81-9
Retail Prices: $22.95 (Hardcover) / $14.95 (Softcover)
Rights Sold: Japanese translation to Hayakawa

Reviewed by Christine I. Speakman

Kris Neri’s newest Tracy Eaton mystery plunges us deeper into Tracy’s exasperating relationship with her mother, Hollywood legend, Martha Collins. A relationship that could get her killed.

Martha wants Drew, Tracy’s straight-laced husband, to come get-rescue-her. The police think she’s killed Vince Sperry. Is it just coincidence that he’s suing Drew’s other client for plagiarism? And who is Vince Sperry? Tracy’s never met him and she’s been forced to meet all of Martha’s friends. Now Tracy is on the case, something her mother doesn’t want. Why? Did Martha really kill Sperry, or is she protecting someone? Someone close to Tracy? Kris Neri has laid out all the clues you need to solve this mystery.

There’s always a little trepidation when reading a book containing the characters one has enjoyed in a previous book. Will the author keep them true to who they were in the previous book; will she develop the characters in a plausible manner? Recently a favourite television series returned for a second season and I could tell that a character had been changed. A change that didn’t feel appropriate for who this character was the year before. Not only has Kris Neri kept her characters’ quirky habits and personalities, she has given us insights into the why behind their behaviours which solidifies their believability. The best example of this shines through in this snippet between Martha and Tracy:

“Control? Is this how you see it, young lady? I don’t want to control your life-I want to be part of it. ”

That sucked the wind from my sails. “But-you are part of it. ”

“As what? An afterthought? A nuisance? ” She placed her bound hands on her knees and pressed her face against them. “You love your child, but you always think you’ll make time for her another day. Today you need to snag the next role or get ready for tonight’s premier. Tomorrow will be her time. Only tomorrow you have to read what they wrote about the dress you wore last night, you have to be seen at the right lunch. Before you know it, you’ve run out of tomorrows. Your child doesn’t need you anymore. Only then do you realize that none of the rest mattered, and you’d do anything to recover that lost time. ”

DEM BONES’ REVENGE is a superbly crafted novel. The scenes alternate from comic episodes to heart wrenching moments straight through to what could possibly go wrong now mishaps. Tracy Eaton is a very colourful character, as are Uncle Philly, and Martha, and Tracy's dad, and…well once you meet a Kris Neri character you won’t soon forget any of them. And if anyone figured out the ending to this story, please let me know I thought I had it solved…two…three times and was still surprised.

REVENGE OF THE GYPSY QUEEN, the first book in this series, has also been reviewed.

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