The Price of Candy (Sandy Reid Mystery Series)
Entera Books (2011)
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (6/11)
The opening scene of “The Price of Candy” sounds quite idyllic. Late afternoon in South Florida, a gentle breeze on an isolated, sandy beach. Two men and a woman… Then comes the shocker. The two men are alive. The woman is not. This very first paragraph of the book could pretty much summon my feelings towards it. While undoubtedly well written and full of tension, the overwhelming feeling I was left with after reading it was that of repulsion.
The story is definitely engaging. A stripper from Baltimore gets a ride from a prominent, successful Congressman. She ends up dead on the aforementioned beach. This will be a mystery difficult to unravel, since neither of those two men is willing to talk about it. Enter a super-bright, super-inquisitive law student, Sandy Reid. Through some slightly far-fetched machinations she somehow ends enmeshed in this mystery, as well as a possible kidnapping of a child and a manslaughter which could very well be a murder. Unless she solves the mystery, she has no chance of ever finishing law school, and worse yet, she could actually be charged as a conspirator in the conspiracy to commit murder.
“The Price of Candy” definitely has an interesting story with many twists and turns, a good pace and a cast of well-drawn, colorful characters. The writing is competent, the language is rich… so why couldn’t I truly get into it and more importantly – why did I feel slightly repulsed from the very start? I gave this a fair amount of thought, since I do not want other readers to think I perceived “The Price of Candy” to be a bad book. In the end, I believe it all boils down to the fact that weird sexual practices and/or fantasies, as well as variants of mental problems simply are not appealing to me. A man fantasizing about the dead naked woman that he saw on the beach, what he did there, dropping a napkin under the table to be able to peek at something “titillating,” rape and abuse of minors, even if they were in the character’s distant past… So sorry, but this type of stuff simply does not rock my boat, particularly when I expect a book to be a straightforward mystery. So let’s call it “the wrong book for this particular reader” and leave it at this.