Killer Image (Allison Campbell Mystery Series, Book #1)
by Wendy Tyson
Release Date: October 1st, 2013
2013 Henery Press
Softcover Edition; 316 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review Copy from Pump Up Your Book
3.5 / 5 Stars
premier image consultant, Allison Campbell helps others reinvent
themselves, but her most successful transformation was her own after a
scandal nearly ruined her. Now she moves in a world of powerful
executives, wealthy, eccentric ex-wives and twisted ethics.
Allison’s latest Main Line client, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter
of a White House hopeful, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a
local divorce attorney, Allison fights to prove her client’s innocence
when no one else will. But unraveling the truth brings specters from her
own past. And in a place where image is everything, the ability to
distinguish what’s real from the façade may be the only thing that keeps
Killer Image was an enjoyable first book in a new mystery series featuring Allison Campbell. I thought the characters were rather interesting, and the plot kept the pages turning; all in all, this novel had all the elements of a light, fun mystery, something that I really need every once in a while.
Allison is one of those characters that I thought was quite fluffy at the beginning and wasn't too sure about, but as I continued into the novel, I found Allison was growing on me, and the more flawed she became, the more I liked her. It was rather interesting to see how the author demonstrated that we are all flawed people underneath the veneer of looks and polish, and how that is by far the more interesting aspects of our personalities, not the package we show to the world. I really liked this dichotomy and it made me think about how quick we are to judge people by how they look rather than by who they are. Polish does, after a few years, develop cracks, and this is what makes things (and in this case, people) more interesting. Once Allison began showing those cracks, I liked her more and more, although there were times I still found her shallow and unsympathetic. But it was those moments when the polish cracked that I found the most interesting. The scene with the dog comes to mind, although if I explained it, it would spoil it for you, so you will just have to read the book.
When Allison takes on Maggie McBride, the difficult daughter of a congressman, in an attempt to polish her exterior, she takes on more than she can handle. The congressman and his family are implicated in a series of murders, with Maggie at the center of the scandal, and Allison is forced to use her own sleuthing skills to save her reputation and her business. I was somewhat disappointed in Maggie at the beginning as she seemed so stereotypical of many teens in so many novels - goth, moody, irritable, annoying, and displaying oppositional tendencies. I also felt like her character didn't have a good background story, or that it wasn't well explained, despite her parents' deficiencies. It's probably just me who felt slighted as I felt like there was no reason given for some of her behaviours, although I'm sure they were justified.
They mystery itself, while enjoyable, was not really that difficult to figure out, probably because the author really didn't give the reader a chance to come to conclusions on their own, but pretty much led them by the nose to every clue. I like a bit more 'mystery' to my mysteries, and dislike the obvious coincidences. I enjoyed the storyline but not so much the mystery as it didn't take much thought to figure it out and I like to be able to think.
Killer Image was an interesting debut in a new mystery series featuring Allison Campbell and I did enjoy the various characters, particularly Vaughn and Mia, two people I would like to learn more about in future novels. I wasn't overly thrilled about the 'mystery' as I felt it was shallow, kind of like Allison at times, but there is so much potential in this series that I am hopeful for future novels to go a bit deeper and really allow readers a chance to figure out things on their own until the 'big reveal' at the end. If you are interested in a mystery with an abundance of interesting characters, than this one is for you. As for me, I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series and reading more about Allison's adventures in the field of image consulting.