Early Book Review: Beauty to Die For: A Spa Mystery by Kim Alexis and Mindy Starns Clark

Beauty to Die For: A Spa Mystery by Kim Alexis and Mindy Starns Clark is a novel that combines romance, mystery/suspense and christian fiction. it is scheduled for release on August 1, 2012. Juliette Taylor was once a super model, but after a long talk in an airport with a stranger she was able to walk away from a life that was slowly killing her. Since then, she has partnered with a good friend and started a company that is now very successful, but facing so serious issues that could put everything at risk. when an old friend/enemy is killed in the spa Juliette is hosting a spiritual retreat, she wants to find the truth. The stranger that made such a difference in Juliette's life was equally changed. he was inspired to leave the power and money hungry engineering industry in search of helping those facing disaster. Now, as a FBI consultant Marcus Stone is on a personal mission to protect Juliette and reconnect with her after too many years have past.Together they search for the truth behind the murder, and how counterfeit products might be connected.

Beauty to Die For is a good combination of genres. The mystery and suspense elements played a major role in the story, while the romance portion was important but not distracting. The romance between Juliette and Marcus is mature and realistic, although readers looking for steam will be disappointed, but remember this is Christian fiction as well. the suspense and mystery aspects of the story are my favorite. I had my suspicions through out the book, and while some proved at least partially correct i was not completely accurate on much. That was a nice change of pace for me; who spent a childhood surrounded with detective novels and mysteries (and later television shows) because those were my mother's favorites, so find myself working on the mystery pretty hard in everything I read.

I am not normally a big fan of Christian fiction, even though I am a practicing Christian. I find that many books read like the religious element is tacked on as an afterthought, or simply overwhelms all other aspects of the story. Neither of these things are true in Beauty to Die For. The religious elements and prayer included in the story are consistent with the characters and ring true. While there were a couple moments where the religion did rise a little stronger, and gives a brief moment that read a little too conversion seeking for my tastes, it still fit perfectly in with the character's personality and the story.

I recommend Beauty to Die For for readers that like romance that is mature and rather hands off (there is a little kissing), readers that enjoy well done Christian fiction, and readers that like to be surprised with how a mystery is resolved. Judging by the title, and the room left in the story in regards to the counterfeit materials and FBI connections, I am betting that a sequel will not be far behind. If I run across a sequel I will certainly read it, but I do not think it is one I will be hunting for when released.
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