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TO DIE, TO SLEEP by Stephanie Black
Halloween is the time for suspense, creepy events, and just plain being scared. Stephanie Black packs all of that and more into To Die, To Sleep her latest suspense novel, to be released any day now. The story starts with Natalie Marsh driving up a winding mountain road to Ellsberg Keep, an exclusive resort where her cousin works. She’s had a hectic year and is more than ready for a relaxing vacation and time to renew her relationship with her cousin. As she drives she carries on a conversation with her boyfriend through the car’s speaker phone until she spots a car off the side of the mountain road and stops to help the sick driver.
A speeding car causes an accident, sending Natalie to start her vacation in the infirmary. The owner of the keep dies and no one knows if his death is the result of a careless accident or if he was murdered. Natalie’s cousin is accused of giving the man the wrong medication. Frightening hallucinations torment the dead man’s son. People disappear. Another death in the family occurs and it’s definitely murder. A blizzard closes the only road connecting the resort to the outside, leaving law enforcement no way to reach the mountain top resort. Suspicion and distrust abound. Natalie is unsure whether a family feud is causing deaths and disappearances or if there is another explanation.
There’s a great cast of characters in this story. Their problems and personalities add to the tension and keep the reader guessing. Suspense readers love to guess “who done it” and this tale will keep them guessing. The dialogue feels authentic. The obstacles to be overcome are many and are realistic. The plot moves quickly with steadily building tension leading to a dramatic conclusion. The author does a superb job of creating a suspenseful situation anyone might find themselves falling into, then leading the reader to one seemingly obvious conclusion, which turns out to be wrong.
Stephanie Black is well known for writing outstanding mystery/suspense stories, but this one moves a step beyond her other stories which earned her four Whitney Awards. Black has lived in Utah, Arizona, Arkansas, Massachusetts, California, and Limerick, Ireland. She plays the violin in a community orchestra and teaches seminary. She and her husband are the parents of five children.
Though To Die, To Sleep is great Halloween reading, it is great anytime reading for anyone who enjoys Mystery/Suspense or who just wants to escape into a first rate book for a few hours.
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TO DIE, TO SLEEP by Stephanie Black, Published by Covenant Communications, Inc., 272 pages, soft cover $17.99. Also available on CD audio and for eReaders.