Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review & Blog Tour: Shore Excursion by Marie Moore

My Review
I love the idea of a cozy-mystery set on a cruise ship with a travel agent protagonist.  And with a flamboyant, fun best friend as her sidekick is even better.  Shore Excursion is pure fun, it's a mystery, it's travel and it's getting to know interesting characters of all ages.  To me that made it a very original and fun book.

I never thought about the fact that travel agents are a dying breed, but that is a fact that is highlighted by the main character, Sidney Marsh.  Sidney is leading a group of older tourists who call themselves The High Steppers on a cruise through Scandinavia.  And though most of the group is older, there are a few younger ones in the group who stand out and not in a good way.  First I love the eccentricities of the group.  As you meet each one and get to know them a a little bit you see they are all different and interesting.  Sidney likes most of them and knows how to handle most of them.  Sidney is truly a whiz with people and great at her job.  But when members of her group start showing up dead she's not quite sure what to do, but she knows she has to do something.

This is where the mystery sets in.  A lot of the plot early in the book is spent getting to know the characters and I like that, then the mystery comes about and things get down to business.  Several plausible suspects are offered up and I never could decide which one I thought it was, so Ms. Moore does a wonderful job with the plotting of the mystery.  I was kept guessing and was kept entertained through the whole book.  I loved the cruise angle.  It kept it fresh because who wants to be stuck out on the ocean with a murderer especially someone you might know.

Sidney is an enjoyable character, she's down to earth, she's likable because she truly cares about people.  I liked her southern charm, and her determination to make a go of the career she has chosen even though it is slowly dying out.  I look forward to reading more mysteries in this series and I feel Ms. Moore has done a terrific job in writing the first installment in this series.  If you enjoy mysteries, especially cozies or ones with some humor then you will enjoy Shore Excursion.  It hooks you early in the book and keeps you entertained until the very last page.  Sidney is the person you would like to be (or at least I would) sweet but with backbone, she knows what she wants and she's determined to get it, but she won't hurt people to do it.  I like her and can't wait to see more of her.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Shore Excursion Book Summary
Price: $13.95
ISBN: 9781603818742
Pages: 230
Release: April 1, 2012

Travel agents are a vanishing breed, but Sidney Marsh, a New York transplant from Mississippi, is holding her ground--at least on land. She is the tour leader on a cruise through Scandinavia for a group of eccentric senior citizens who call themselves the High Steppers. Sidney expects her days to be filled with long meals, shopping expeditions and visits to museums, churches and fjords. But this cruise is anything but routine. There is a killer on board, targeting the High Steppers and quite possibly herself.

After the first suspicious death, the captain and his crew are grimly determined to carry on as usual. Disgusted with their inaction, Sidney decides to take matters into her own hands and launch her own investigation. She enlists the halfhearted help of her friend and business partner, the flamboyant and fun-loving Jay Wilson. Suspects abound. What about those two handsome young men who stay mysteriously aloof? One of them has his eye on Sidney. So does another passenger, far too charming and again too young to fit the "High Stepper" mold. Then there's Captain Vargos, the arrogant ladies' man whose plans to thwart Sidney's investigation might include seduction.

Who is that crew member shadowing Sidney? Is the theater really haunted? Even the High Steppers themselves are not as predictable or harmless as they seem. The closer Sydney gets to the truth, the less she understands. Shore Excursion is the first book in a new mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Sidney Marsh.
Shore Excursion blog tour site:
Marie Moore Bio:

Shore Excursion is Marie Moore’s first novel, but not her first writing experience, and like Sidney Marsh, she is a native Mississippian. She graduated from Ole Miss, married a lawyer in her hometown, taught junior high science, raised a family, and worked for a small weekly newspaper, first as a writer and later as Managing Editor. She wrote hard news, features and a weekly column, sold ads, did interviews, took photos, and won a couple of MS Press Association awards for some of her stories.

In 1985, Marie left the newspaper to open a retail travel agency. She completed agency and computer training with Airlines Reporting Corporation, Delta Airlines and TWA, earned her CTC (Certified Travel Counselor) designation, and joined the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). For the next 15 years, she managed her agency, sold travel, escorted group tours, sailed on 19 cruises, and visited over 60 countries. Much of the background of Shore Excursion comes from that experience.

Marie also did location scouting and worked as the local contact for several feature films, including Heart of Dixie, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, and Robert Altman’s Cookie’s Fortune.

In mid-1999, because of her husband's work, Marie sold the travel agency and moved to Jackson, MS, then New York City, Anna Maria Island, FL, and Arlington, VA. She and her husband now live in Memphis, TN and Holly Springs, MS.

Marie is a member of Sisters in Crime.

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***I received this book through Tribute Books for an honest review.