A fairly standard romantic suspense plot that is used quite frequently is this: Heroine is a potential victim of a serial killer, hero is a very masculine cop/PI/detective/other law enforcement type with commitment problems who goes on to overcome his issues and save said heroine's life. Although Weddings Can Be Murder falls into this category, but managed to remain fresh enough to pleasantly surprise me.
Katie Ray is not exactly a glowing bride since the mere thought of her wedding makes her so nervous she throws up. During one of her bouts of nerves, she accidentally flushes her engagement ring down the toilet. While trying to figure out what she's going to do, she pays a visit to her wedding planner. While she's there, someone breaks in and kills the planner, leaving Katie locked in a room with Carl Hades, a private investigator called by the planner to investigate why her clients have been disappearing.
Katie and Carl determine that the missing brides have, in fact, been murdered and that she is probably the next victim. Even after they are released, Carl takes it upon himself to protect Katie. However, he also tries to stifle his growing attraction for her, as he has still not fully recovered from a relationship that, in the end, almost took his life.
All the characters in this story were likable - even Katie's fiancé, who is actually quite sympathetic. The way their relationship develops (or perhaps disintegrates) is too convenient, but it didn't really bother me. There are also some great side characters and a secondary relationship involving Katie's best friend that worked quite well. Katie and Carl have great chemistry, and I found their relationship really believable. Carl, again, is not necessarily the first hero with his particular history and fears, however, I didn't find his commitment-phobia too extreme, and my frustrations with him were not unreasonable. The way Ms. Craig slowly revealed his feelings for Katie (of the affectionate nature, not physical) was very endearing.
The book is not flawless, though, and, because of the way it was written, I skimmed over some high-action moments, which created a lot of confusion later on. The ending was not as predictable as I thought, but some of the red herring clues were not explained - and they needed to be. The author's style features a great deal of head and scene jumping; point-of-views and scenes changed often, and sections were often short. Though it worked at times, occasionally it was abrupt and the breaks and switches happened before I was ready. These are not the only issues I had with Ms. Craig's writing style, which seemed quirky to me.
However, Weddings Can Be Murder was fun, with a solid romance and an interesting (if not entirely groundbreaking) mystery. It’s light but not fluffy, and a solid summer read.
-- Jane Granville
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