From Publishers Weekly
Lyrical prose and Technicolor characters lift Kelby's amusing, unconventional mystery set at a gated Florida beach community plagued by murder and mayhem. The main responsibility of Brian Wilson, a security guard at Laguna Key who was kicked out of FBI training, is to protect the ethereal Sophie, blind daughter of his boss, Mr. Whit. Mr. Whit, who's buying up property to expand his small empire, is frustrated by the last holdout, ex–horror-film actress Danni Keene, owner of the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill, which has been repeatedly vandalized. Brian finds the first body, that of a homeless activist whose estranged brother, Sòlas Mackay, arrives with his traveling puppet circus and sets up camp in the Bad Girl's parking lot. Danni discovers the next, a Barry Manilow tribute artist and hit man she had hired to entertain customers. Sòlas, Danni, Brian and Sophie must battle marauding vultures, fierce weather, a devious ex-husband and the stun-gun–happy Mr. Whit. Along the way, Kelby (Whale Season
) offers some unexpected wisdom. (June)
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Take a deep breath. Imagine a lighthearted mystery despite a fair number of corpses. It takes place in Laguna Key, in and around the bar and grill of the title. Danni, who runs the joint, was once famous for her bloodcurdling scream in slasher movies. A circus comes to town, with the last member of the clan Macbeth and his beauteous, full-size puppets. He has vestigial wings. There’s Brian Wilson, a local, who hums a lot of Beach Boy tunes. There’s a dog that looks like Barry Manilow; a beautiful blind woman; an evil husband; a Buddhist jazz singer. And, of course, there’s a full palette of local color. The kaleidoscopic plot, such as it is, has to do with the development of lush Florida land and with familial ties gone bad. Following Whale Season (2006), this is Kelby’s second venture into the antic surreality that typifies a certain strain of the Florida crime novel, and she clearly has a flair for getting goofy in that Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey way. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido