Silent Knife


Celebration Bay is full of yuletide cheer—
but it’s hard to remain festive when someone’s out to slay Santa.

It’s Liv Montgomery’s first Christmas out of Manhattan and in Celebration Bay. They’ve got a tree to rival Rockefeller Center’s, but this year’s holidays are turning out to be a disaster. As the small town’s event planner, Liv wants everything to be perfect. Unfortunately, the local Christmas shop has been replaced by the gaudy Trim a Tree—complete with tacky ornaments and a new replacement Santa who isn’t spreading any cheer.

At the town’s annual Celebration of Lights, Trim a Tree is the only shop left unlit. Liv, furious, goes to investigate, and discovers something even less festive—the store’s new Santa has been murdered. Small-town gossip begins to stir, and Liv must clear the name of the previous town Santa just in the nick of time before the real killer ruins Christmas.

Series: A Celebration Bay Mystery (Book 2)


Most residents of Celebration Bay have more than the average share of Christmas spirit. Almost everyone in town is getting ready for the annual Celebration of Lights. However, Liv Montgomery, event planner for the town, has been having problems with one uncooperative store owner. Liv intends to remind the owner of “Trim a Tree” of their responsibilities and not allow their bad attitude to dampen the holiday mood. Unfortunately, what she discovers at the store makes her other problems pale in comparison. Liv now has to deal with the ultimate Scrooge – someone has murdered Santa Claus! When not dressed up as St. Nick, Phil Cosgrove had plenty of enemies. The police have zeroed in on one suspect, but Liv thinks they have the wrong person. Now it’s up to her to solve the murder in time to save Christmas for Celebration Bay.

The book has several high points, but I’m disappointed that this follow-up book just isn’t as fun as the series debut. I love the idea of a town so focused on holiday celebrations and festivals. However, this time around there isn’t the same entertaining interaction between the characters that there was in the first book. Liv is a likeable main character, but she doesn’t come to life the same way she did in the prior book. Although an event Liv is planning is the heart of the story, there aren’t enough scenes with Liv actually performing her duties as an event planner. This is a shame because it was those things that helped make the first book so interesting. One of the highlights of the series is the friendship between Liv and her right-hand man, Ted. They joke with each other often, but never in a mean-spirited way. There aren’t enough examples of this dialogue in Silent Knife. Instead, Ted spends more time teaching Liv’s dog Whiskey to “sing” than having conversations with his friend. Unfortunately, Whiskey singing “aroo-roo-roo“ gets as old for the reader as it does for Liv.

Santa as a murder victim is a clever premise for a holiday-themed book, but the plot of this story is a bit thin. Parts of the investigation are interesting, but the solution is a bit of a letdown. It’s not a bad book, just disappointing after the excellent debut of this series. However, someone looking for a light holiday story may still enjoy this book. It’s fairly easy to catch up with the important characters even if you haven’t read the prior book in the series. To get a more in depth understanding of Liv’s character and see the potential of this series, I recommend reading the first book, Foul Play at the Fair before Silent Knife.

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