Author: Pepper Smith
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC, 2010
Paperback, 228 pages
Genre: Amateur Sleuth, #1 Patty O'Donnell mystery
Source: the author
First Line: The thief had been hiding in our house for nearly a week before anyone realized he was there.
Four years ago, Patty O'Donnell met the man of her dreams, married him, and moved from Arizona to Ireland. Now she's living in the ancestral home on the Irish coast, and she's the assistant trainer of the family's race horses. Life is good-- or it is until the young son of a deceased family friend brings proof of a long-forgotten debt owed him by the O'Donnells.
The debt involves part of a cargo lost in a shipwreck off the coast of Italy 150 years ago. The young boy needs the money desperately, and it takes little persuasion for the O'Donnells to make good on the debt. They send a search and salvage team to the area, and when dangerous things begin to happen in Ireland, Patty is sent to join the team in Italy. Little does she know that she's jumped from the frying pan right into the fire. Pirates willing to commit murder for treasure are not a thing of the past.
This book appeals to me on so many levels: a smart, level-headed, feisty woman moving from Arizona to Ireland. An old house filled with secret doors and passageways. Race horses. Sunken treasure. I'm glad that I could read this book uninterrupted because I would have been decidedly grumpy if I'd been disturbed.
Patty is a vegan who hates coffee. An ex-cop in her family taught her how to defend herself, and she's not the type of person to take foolish risks or to panic in a dangerous situation. That last bit is particularly important because she finds herself in more than one life-threatening scenario.
Smith couldn't put her foot wrong in this book in the eyes of this reader. Patty is a wonderful lead character, and the scenes involving the horses and the diving all rang true. Although I'd guessed some aspects of the plot, I didn't figure out all the twists and turns-- partly because my inherit dislike of a certain type of character blinded me to what was going on. More than once it felt as though the author was orchestrating my thought processes, but it was so expertly done that I didn't mind a bit.
If you're in the mood for a fast-paced story with lots of adventure and a strong-willed main character, you certainly can't go wrong with Blood Money. I can't wait to get my hands on the other books in this series!