Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sex in a Sidecar-Phyllis Smallman

Sex in a Sidecar
Phyllis Smallman
McArthur & Company, Mar 2010, $19.95
ISBN: 9781552787731

Bartender Sherri Travis mixes the drinks at the Sunset Bar in Jacaranda, Florida when Hurricane Myrna hitting the Gulf veers towards the town. She knows it is time to evacuate, but cannot find the keys to the truck she inherited from her late husband Jimmy. Customer Gina from Pittsburgh admits she is on the trail of a serial killer who murdered her sister; she offers Sherri a ride. With no other option, as everyone is gone she accepts.

However, Gina fails to head in the direction to safety, but instead drives towards the hurricane. In South Beach Gina stops and jumps out of the car. Sherri cannot find Gina at first, but soon sees the woman dead in the car. A palm tree blocks Sherri from fleeing the storm so she rushes to the nearby home of her mother-in-law who loathes Sherri and blames her for Jimmy’s murder (see Margarita Nights). Sherri finds Bernice with a broken leg and perhaps much more. She drives inland with Bernice taking her to the nearest hospital while her passenger harangues her just short of accusing Sherri of causing the hurricane. After the storm leaves the clean up begins as Sherri obtains work at the country club until the Sunset Bar can be fixed. However, a killer may not be sure that Sherri cannot identify him so he is coming after her.

The second Sherri Travis thriller is an exhilarating tale refreshed by the hurricane that assaults Florida. The story line is fast-paced even when Sherri and company prepare for Myrna and never slows down as the plot twists once the clean-up begins. Fans will appreciate Sherri’s amateur sleuthing and especially enjoy Phyllis Smallman’s humor in the midst of danger as the heroine and her former mother-in-law cannot share a continent let alone a state even with their lives on the line. The two Travis’ tales are wonderful mysteries.

Harriet Klausner