Review of ‘Cliffhanger’

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Socialite Belinda Kittredge, returning to her hometown, Portside, RI, expected fun, sun, and sugar cookies. There to oversee her twin brother, Kyle’s, renovation of their parents’ home, she is also reconnecting with old high school friends. Immediately, though, a decade-old tragedy, the death in a boating accident of a friend and almost-boyfriend, intrudes. At a party, she’s approached by Jeff, witness to the old death, who wants to ‘talk to her about it.’ She also finds herself pursued by a teenaged neighbor who had an old crush on her and seems to want to revive it.

When Jeff is found dead at the base of a cliff, Belinda knows something is amiss. She finds it hard to concentrate on it, however, because of the heat emitted by Bennett Tate, an ex-cop turned event security expert, who is asked by a friend on the local police force to keep an eye on her—a task he finds most pleasant.

Things go from bad to worse, and Belinda finds herself the target of some weird attempts on her life, her brother accused of murdering Jeff, and an old classmate still carrying a grudge over something that is ten years in the past.

You might assume Cliffhanger by Amy Saunders is one of those books that ends on a cliffhanger, with many—or at least the main—issues unresolved. Wrong. The author wraps everything up nicely. Turns out, the title refers to the situations the main character constantly finds herself in.

One complaint about the book. The author uses characters names frequently, and I do mean frequently. Belinda’s name opens the first two paragraphs, and I stopped counting how many times her name was used in that chapter at ten—it was more. It’s nice to know which character is which, but there has to be a better way than using their name; three or four times in one paragraph is way too many. At that frequency it’s not informative, it’s intrusive.

So, here’s a book with a fascinating couple of main characters, the requisite volume of sparks flying between them, and a fairly interesting plot—marred by names, names, names. I give it three stars, and cross my fingers that this author—who shows great promise—will notice this and institute corrective measures in future books.

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