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Peak Season for Murder
Leigh Girard Mystery
Gail Lukasik

Five Star
October 9, 2013/ ISBN 978-1-4328-2729-8


Reviewed by Claudia VanLydegraf

Gail Lukasik has shown herself once again to shine, she has put together a small gem of a mystery novel. One of the things I like about her work and that of another very special writer from the same area is that they both always choose to stay within a certain locality and climate that each of them are totally familiar with. This makes the story seem as if it could conceivably happen to the reader and brings that reader into the fabric of the novel in a way that many people reading are not even really aware of. If a person feels at home inside the book, s/he will enjoy it more and climb into the middle of the story with much more ease. Being a reviewer of many books, I have always taken special note of the books I feel comfortable inside of. These special authors draw you in, make the story happen close to you and present parts of life that are familiar to you. Peak Season for Murder is one of those books. I also reviewed one of Lukasik's prior books, The Lost Artist, and found it just as compelling and down-to-earth for the reader.

That said, Leigh Girard is a reporter for the Door County Gazette. She becomes involved in murder of the stage variety, a murder that took place a long time ago and one that happened just as Ms Girard was getting ready to write an article about the review of the Bayside County Theater (which just happens to play a big part of the summer tourist economy of the area) and the mysterious death of a close friend of a friend. In the beginning, this third murder is still a question in Ms Girard's mind. The big review of the Theater is to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of this Bayside Theater and its current Summer Schedule of plays for the residents of the area and those that are coming in to see certain special Big Name artists who are performing. Girard is to stay on assignment with the performers and watch them, party with them, get to know them, spend time interviewing them and overall put special interviews and news about the Bayside Theater out to the public of the area. Nate Ryan is the top of the Bill and his counter part, Julian Finch is also a top draw. Ryan is coming in to sort of buff up his career and get back on top after a few lagging seasons as the "Bad Boy" in Hollywood. His counterpart on the stage is Julian Finch, who is well liked and well known in the area and has never let the summer Bayside fans down. One problem, the Lead man, Nate Ryan is murdered. A murder or disappearance that took place twenty five years earlier is frequently thought about after Ryan's murder, because Ryan, Finch and Danielle Moyer, the daughter of one of the interim family owners of the Bayside all were at the Theater back twenty five years ago when Danielle disappeared and her whereabouts or what happened to her was never completely solved. And to tie all of this together, a friend of Ms. Girard's, Brownie Lawrence, is murdered with no reason for his death. The deaths of Nate Ryan and Brownie Lawrence may somehow be tied together or there may be some coincidences that come to light to make one explain the other. It is a long shot, but it is possible. Theater people love to play pranks and games that have no explanations, but there are times some of those games and pranks have deep underlying reasons and may all come together to help Ms. Girard solve one, possibly two or maybe all three murders. What is the connection?

This is a very compelling story and you need to have your head open to the investigation twists and turns, so get ready and clear your calendar of all extraneous things for however long it takes you to read Peak Season for Murder. You will enjoy it immensely, I certainly did. Read it for yourself before you take another's opinion.

Reviewed 2013