A Bet Turned Deadly, Alice Zogg, Aventine Press, 2014, 226 pp
My friend Alice Zogg has just released her 10th novel, a mystery with a complete shocker of an ending and a new direction for the author.
If you have read any of her earlier books, your are familiar with private investigator R A Huber and her assistant Andi. But Regula and Andi play no part in A Bet Turned Deadly, though the setting is still in the Los Angeles area. An even bigger change is that the narrator of this new book is a man!
James Eaton, a successful mystery writer, bets his best friend Jacob $1000 that he can't find a dozen people willing to give up their computers, cell phones, and tablets for a week. The bet results in a camping trip to an isolated spot in the Angeles National Forest. During the week in the woods, one camper dies.
Ms Zogg has always had a talent for plotting and this book showcases that talent in spades. It is the impeccable pacing that makes it a page turner. I kept waiting for a slip up in James' voice, thinking surely I would hear a female tone creep in, but she never faltered. I believed the character on every page. If you have ever spent time in the Angeles National Forest, you will recognize that she got it perfectly.
A Bet Turned Deadly is not long. You could almost read it in one sitting. It is proof that a person can learn to write novels by writing them. I admit to not trying very hard to figure out who done it when I read a murder mystery, but if you can figure out who murdered that camper before it is revealed you should say so in the comments. (Not who did it; just that you did!)
Read about all of Alice Zogg's books at her website.
(A Bet Turned Deadly is available in various formats by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)