Review by Bruce Cantwell
"Theater had been my place of refuge ever since Cody’s accident. It was the one place I could forget everything around me and still feel safe. Some people don’t understand the 'safe' part. They think it must be terrifying to be onstage in front of an audience. For me, it’s more like reading a good book. I become another person, transported to another place and time. But it’s even better than reading, because my chosen family is there onstage with me, reading the same book at the same time."
What is true for actress/PI Ivy Meadows is also true for readers who follow her career. As we read "Oliver Twisted" we can forget everything around us and feel safe.
On her first assignment (Macdeath), Ivy's "safe place" was a circus-inspired production of Macbeth. Her second assignment (The Sound of Murder) found her in a musical world premiere mash-up of "The Sound of Music" and "Cabaret." This time around…
"We’d been hired to investigate a string of thefts aboard a cruise line… Working part-time at my uncle’s PI firm kept me financially afloat, but just barely. My car had recently failed emissions, so I was in desperate need of funds and had no acting work lined up. When I learned about the cruise, the money, and the fact that I’d play Nancy in the onboard musical version of Oliver Twist, I felt like I’d died and gone to Broadway."
Of course, while the world Cindy Brown creates for her spunky heroine is cozy for readers, it's anything but safe for Ivy. This time out, she discovers that her acting assignment involves Cirque du Soleil-type aerial silk dancing. And ever since a traumatic incident in her youth, she's never felt safe around water.
"And under the bridge, and the ship, and stretching out into the bay on the other side of the terminal, was water. Fathoms and fathoms of it, with hungry sharks and stinging jellyfish and seaweed that wrapped around your legs and pulled you down, down, down into the cold black…"
"Oliver Twisted" will appeal to Dickens fans, cruise fans, and armchair detectives. But you don't have to fit into any of these categories to enjoy the characters and the humor. This is highly recommended vacation reading, either actual or virtual. All aboard.
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Copyright © 2016, by Bruce Cantwell. All rights reserved.