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Played to Death

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A Shamus Award Finalist and Named Best Mystery in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Still suffering nightmares from a case that ended tragically, brilliant freelance crime consultant Scott Drayco considers retiring from crime solving altogether. When a former client bequeaths Drayco a rundown Opera House in a Virginia seaside town, he figures he'll arrange for a A Shamus Award Finalist and Named Best Mystery in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Still suffering nightmares from a case that ended tragically, brilliant freelance crime consultant Scott Drayco considers retiring from crime solving altogether. When a former client bequeaths Drayco a rundown Opera House in a Virginia seaside town, he figures he'll arrange for a quick sale of the place while nursing his battered soul in a peaceful setting near the shore. What he doesn't count on is finding a dead body on the Opera House stage with a mysterious "G" carved into the man's chest. With hopes for a quick sale dashed and himself a suspect in the murder, Drayco digs into very old and very dangerous secrets to solve the crime and clear his name. Along the way, Drayco must dodge a wary sheriff, hostility over coastal development, and the seductive wife of a town councilman - before the tensions explode into more violence and he becomes the next victim. Want to read a Scott Drayco novella for FREE? Sign up for BV’s Mysteries in Crimetime newsletter at bvlawson.com and receive a FREE copy of "The Maltese Moon Rock"! Scott Drayco Thrillers in order: PLAYED TO DEATH (A Shamus Award Finalist and Best Mystery, Next Generation Book Awards) REQUIEM FOR INNOCENCE DIES IRAE ELEGY IN SCARLET


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A Shamus Award Finalist and Named Best Mystery in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Still suffering nightmares from a case that ended tragically, brilliant freelance crime consultant Scott Drayco considers retiring from crime solving altogether. When a former client bequeaths Drayco a rundown Opera House in a Virginia seaside town, he figures he'll arrange for a A Shamus Award Finalist and Named Best Mystery in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Still suffering nightmares from a case that ended tragically, brilliant freelance crime consultant Scott Drayco considers retiring from crime solving altogether. When a former client bequeaths Drayco a rundown Opera House in a Virginia seaside town, he figures he'll arrange for a quick sale of the place while nursing his battered soul in a peaceful setting near the shore. What he doesn't count on is finding a dead body on the Opera House stage with a mysterious "G" carved into the man's chest. With hopes for a quick sale dashed and himself a suspect in the murder, Drayco digs into very old and very dangerous secrets to solve the crime and clear his name. Along the way, Drayco must dodge a wary sheriff, hostility over coastal development, and the seductive wife of a town councilman - before the tensions explode into more violence and he becomes the next victim. Want to read a Scott Drayco novella for FREE? Sign up for BV’s Mysteries in Crimetime newsletter at bvlawson.com and receive a FREE copy of "The Maltese Moon Rock"! Scott Drayco Thrillers in order: PLAYED TO DEATH (A Shamus Award Finalist and Best Mystery, Next Generation Book Awards) REQUIEM FOR INNOCENCE DIES IRAE ELEGY IN SCARLET

30 review for Played to Death

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tulay

    Enjoyed this book Scott Drayco is in small town in Cape Unity to check out the old opera house he inherited. He started his own PI business after leaving FBI, also loves to play piano. Small town looking for development, some residents for it. Murders, small town gossip, missing box from the opera house. Unpublished Chopin manuscript, and story behind it. Humorously written good story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paul Lima

    A PI inherits an old, unused opera house in a small town. He goes there to meet a client. When he gets there the client is dead -- murdered. The PI stays in the town to solve the murder. A few days later, the client's wife is murdered. Sounds intriguing, no? No. Was quite boring. The PI talks to a lot of people; a lot of people are suspect. But I'm really not sure why. All the characters are two-dimensional and the conversation is wooden. There is serious flirtation with the wife of a town counc A PI inherits an old, unused opera house in a small town. He goes there to meet a client. When he gets there the client is dead -- murdered. The PI stays in the town to solve the murder. A few days later, the client's wife is murdered. Sounds intriguing, no? No. Was quite boring. The PI talks to a lot of people; a lot of people are suspect. But I'm really not sure why. All the characters are two-dimensional and the conversation is wooden. There is serious flirtation with the wife of a town councillor that is as hot as a cold plate of spaghetti, and goes nowhere. By time we get to the reveal I was barely scanning the pages to get through the book. Not my cuppa, and I like a good murder mystery. This did nothing for me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    3.5-4 I downloaded this awhile ago for free as the first in a series and it took me awhile to start it but once I did- I was pretty hooked. The mystery took place as Scott (former FBI now a private detective of sorts) was gifted an Opera House outside of Washington DC. He can’t decide if he wants to sell or it remodel it and as the mystery unfolds- his opera house is at the center. The books has a really interesting cast of characters that I look forward to learning about and seeing how the story 3.5-4 I downloaded this awhile ago for free as the first in a series and it took me awhile to start it but once I did- I was pretty hooked. The mystery took place as Scott (former FBI now a private detective of sorts) was gifted an Opera House outside of Washington DC. He can’t decide if he wants to sell or it remodel it and as the mystery unfolds- his opera house is at the center. The books has a really interesting cast of characters that I look forward to learning about and seeing how the story develops. I love when a free book is a good book. There are a few missing periods and Scott has a disorder where he sees and hears colors with voices and sounds but it didn’t really play well or into the story-Besides that one tiny gripe- I really enjoyed it and it kept me guessing till the end. I also really liked the bits and pieces of historical information about the musicians and certain musical pieces.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Well written novel with a strong plot line, numerous red herrings & a surprise ending I didn't see coming. I do feel it could have done with a bit more tight editing as it was wordy at times. A leisurely read in front of a warm fire with coffee as opposed to a page turning thriller. Thoroughly enjoyed it & look forward to more adventures featuring Scott Drako. Well written novel with a strong plot line, numerous red herrings & a surprise ending I didn't see coming. I do feel it could have done with a bit more tight editing as it was wordy at times. A leisurely read in front of a warm fire with coffee as opposed to a page turning thriller. Thoroughly enjoyed it & look forward to more adventures featuring Scott Drako.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tony Parsons

    Scott Drayco (crime consultant/former FBI & classical pianist, Ph.D. in criminology, NCAVC) something he did not plan on was being left a run-down Opera House at Cape Unity (Chesapeake Bay) by a former client Horatio Rockingham. Scott was staying at the Lazy Crab. Sheriff Ernest Hemingway Sailor came to investigate the body lying on the stage. Nanette Keys (wife, SW) identified the body of Oakley Keys (wood craftsman, “G”). Oakley had hired Scott to investigate Eastern Shore development & other t Scott Drayco (crime consultant/former FBI & classical pianist, Ph.D. in criminology, NCAVC) something he did not plan on was being left a run-down Opera House at Cape Unity (Chesapeake Bay) by a former client Horatio Rockingham. Scott was staying at the Lazy Crab. Sheriff Ernest Hemingway Sailor came to investigate the body lying on the stage. Nanette Keys (wife, SW) identified the body of Oakley Keys (wood craftsman, “G”). Oakley had hired Scott to investigate Eastern Shore development & other things pertaining to the property (Gallinger Company). What were Nanette Keys & Earl Yaegle up to? What was Oakley Keys & Darcie Squier up to? Will Sheriff Ernest Hemingway Sailor & his team solve the mysterious crimes/murders? I was once a child/teen prodigy concert pianist (Conservatory of Music, KC). A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A very well written CSI mystery book. It was very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. There were no grammar nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences, There were several typo errors (word spacing). Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & lots/lots of unique characters to keep track of. 1 you must read to the very end. This could also make great CSI mystery movie, or mini TV series. Kind of humorous. A very easy rating of 5 stars. Thank you for the free book (Goodreads, Story Cartel) Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    A Shamus Award Finalist and Best Mystery, Next Generation Book Awards Drayco plans to meet a prospective client at his Opera House, only to find his client dead. What I liked: *Interesting small town characters. *No bodies of women tortured. *Nice plot line focused mainly on solving the murder(s). Played to Death is the first in a series, and I plan to continue reading. I'm a little tired of "thrillers" in which the thrill involves tortured and murdered women. I don't mind one every once in a while, b A Shamus Award Finalist and Best Mystery, Next Generation Book Awards Drayco plans to meet a prospective client at his Opera House, only to find his client dead. What I liked: *Interesting small town characters. *No bodies of women tortured. *Nice plot line focused mainly on solving the murder(s). Played to Death is the first in a series, and I plan to continue reading. I'm a little tired of "thrillers" in which the thrill involves tortured and murdered women. I don't mind one every once in a while, but it seems more and more have less mystery and investigation and more horrific cases. Anyway, I did enjoy this book and the characters. Mystery/PI. 2014. Print length: 314 pages.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    The author of this story made me feel as if I had known the characters for a long while. It is a good mystery - not one that I could figure out ahead of time - but it could benefit from some proofreading. The character of Darcie is not believable and takes away from the book but the other characters were well developed.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Roxx Tarantini

    Scott Drayco is a concert pianist. Or he was. He turned to detecting after his career as a pianist was brutally ended. Now, after a case that still haunts him, he's hoping for a respite, and the inheriting of a run-down Opera House by the Virginia seaside seems like just the ticket. Until on a routine tour of his new property, he discovers a dead body. As the "new guy" in town, suspicion falls squarely on his shoulders, with a Sheriff who is in no hurry to look for other possibilities. Played to De Scott Drayco is a concert pianist. Or he was. He turned to detecting after his career as a pianist was brutally ended. Now, after a case that still haunts him, he's hoping for a respite, and the inheriting of a run-down Opera House by the Virginia seaside seems like just the ticket. Until on a routine tour of his new property, he discovers a dead body. As the "new guy" in town, suspicion falls squarely on his shoulders, with a Sheriff who is in no hurry to look for other possibilities. Played to Death plays to my love of a good "starting over" story. In Scott Drayco, Lawson has created an amiable, affable sleuth that draws your sympathy, and invests you in his story. A good plot line with good characters combine here to make Played to Death a page-turner that will keep you reading till its conclusion. Lawson litters the narrative with enough twists that this arm-chair sleuth had no clue till the reveal, but it was a fitting ending. A solid read I'm sure you'll enjoy!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Drayer

    I love reading about PI-this author really captured the main character while he is in a small town with an inherited opera house...a GOOD read

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gaby

    It was a 4.5 stars for me. The writting was very good and the story kept me to my toes. I really couldn't guess who the killer was till the very end. I will definetely read the next book. It was a 4.5 stars for me. The writting was very good and the story kept me to my toes. I really couldn't guess who the killer was till the very end. I will definetely read the next book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Suzan

    Serviceable novel, ending marred by improbabilities of timing--given the background, why NOW for these murders? A good scattering of clues amongst the multiple red herrings, but no real explanation of why it all erupts just as Draco appears. Readable, though the prose veers towards purple on occasion.

  12. 5 out of 5

    BRT

    Intriguing mystery involving a former pianist turned FBI agent turned detective. He heads into a small coastal town to see an aging opera house left to him by a former client and becomes embroiled in a deadly mix of love, history, desire, and greed. Lots of suspects, almost too many to be believable, and a twisting path to the murderer make this one to keep reading until you decipher the clues. A friend found this a "plodding" plot. While there are some scenes that could be considered unnecessar Intriguing mystery involving a former pianist turned FBI agent turned detective. He heads into a small coastal town to see an aging opera house left to him by a former client and becomes embroiled in a deadly mix of love, history, desire, and greed. Lots of suspects, almost too many to be believable, and a twisting path to the murderer make this one to keep reading until you decipher the clues. A friend found this a "plodding" plot. While there are some scenes that could be considered unnecessary, for the most part, each scene moved the story to it's conclusion. For a first in the series, I found this to be somewhere between a cozy mystery and a hard driving detective story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    6r3g6 th4uv3tt3

    I could give the book 3 stars, but 2-2.5 is probably fair. I liked the book enough, but the story was really underdeveloped. You don't really know why things are happening, they just are, or who the characters are, and what their role is in the story. It just never really gets going either. The story that is. There's enough there that you want to know, but the more you keep turning the pages, the less your inquisitiveness is fulfilled. I'm not sorry that I read the book, I just don't know that I I could give the book 3 stars, but 2-2.5 is probably fair. I liked the book enough, but the story was really underdeveloped. You don't really know why things are happening, they just are, or who the characters are, and what their role is in the story. It just never really gets going either. The story that is. There's enough there that you want to know, but the more you keep turning the pages, the less your inquisitiveness is fulfilled. I'm not sorry that I read the book, I just don't know that I would recommend it to someone else.

  14. 5 out of 5

    John R. Goyer

    I'll up this to 4 stars for the sheer grand opera approach to the lead character and the various background stories of other characters. A bit over the top, but sympathetic and a good enjoyable murder mystery. Mr Drayco started as a piano prodigy with a Carnegie debut at 12, than had a tragic injury and ended up in the FBI where he was almost the director before quitting and becoming a PI. No one is ordinary in this book... The sheriff of the town is quite a good character as is Scott, and I'm p I'll up this to 4 stars for the sheer grand opera approach to the lead character and the various background stories of other characters. A bit over the top, but sympathetic and a good enjoyable murder mystery. Mr Drayco started as a piano prodigy with a Carnegie debut at 12, than had a tragic injury and ended up in the FBI where he was almost the director before quitting and becoming a PI. No one is ordinary in this book... The sheriff of the town is quite a good character as is Scott, and I'm planning on trying at least another of this series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Black Butterfly

    I’VE READ ONE OTHER BOOK IN THE DRAYCO MYSTERY SERIES, I LIKED THEM BUT THEY ARE SO SLOW AND BORING. I WISH THEY WEREN’T BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE REALLY ENJOYED THEM MORE. THE DRAGGING STORYLINE MADE IT HARD FOR ME TO STAY INTERESTED, I KEPT FINDING OTHER THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF READING. IT WAS WAY TOO LONGGGG, SO MANY UNECESSARY THINGS I REALLY DIDN’T NEED TO KNOW, INSTEAD OF BEING HELPFUL IT JUST BOGGED THE STORY DOWN. ;\

  16. 5 out of 5

    Creagh Steins

    Truth is I barely started before I stopped. (rare for me- spent $ so usually plow along) Was one of those books that tried waaaay too hard. Everything was overly detailed & poetic. It may be a great story. It got great reviews & sounded like a book / series I would enjoy; but when every single thing, down to a crack in the sidewalk, is deeply explored w/ prose - It's distracting. Didn't make it for enough to know if I would like it or not. Truth is I barely started before I stopped. (rare for me- spent $ so usually plow along) Was one of those books that tried waaaay too hard. Everything was overly detailed & poetic. It may be a great story. It got great reviews & sounded like a book / series I would enjoy; but when every single thing, down to a crack in the sidewalk, is deeply explored w/ prose - It's distracting. Didn't make it for enough to know if I would like it or not.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ted Tayler

    "Cleverly done, but didn't excite me" There was so much to like in this first book of the series. Well developed characters, a tightly woven plot with helpful and unhelpful clues scattered here and there, and the descriptive language at time was sumptuous. Somehow though, I couldn't engage with the book 100%; it all seemed to take so long to get to the crux of the matter. "Cleverly done, but didn't excite me" There was so much to like in this first book of the series. Well developed characters, a tightly woven plot with helpful and unhelpful clues scattered here and there, and the descriptive language at time was sumptuous. Somehow though, I couldn't engage with the book 100%; it all seemed to take so long to get to the crux of the matter.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    When a former client gives Scott Drayco an Opera House in Cape Unity, he arranges to meet his next client there. Unfortunately he finds him dead with a letter G carved unto his body. Quite a few people have a motive, and is there any connection to Konstantina Klucze, a polish pianist who played at the House, or to the other murders which occur.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Good book but not my style.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Injoy

    Played to Death, A Scott Drayco Mystery by BV Lawson is an intriguing, page-turning book. It's a Shamus Award Finalist and Named Best Mystery in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. I gave it five stars. Drayco was driving his vintage Oldsmobile Starfire near Chesapeake Bay. The scenery was not to his liking. He arrived at the Opera House he had inherited. He wanted to have a quick turnover sale. He's a crime consultant and considering retirement. He finds a dead body on stage and becomes Played to Death, A Scott Drayco Mystery by BV Lawson is an intriguing, page-turning book. It's a Shamus Award Finalist and Named Best Mystery in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. I gave it five stars. Drayco was driving his vintage Oldsmobile Starfire near Chesapeake Bay. The scenery was not to his liking. He arrived at the Opera House he had inherited. He wanted to have a quick turnover sale. He's a crime consultant and considering retirement. He finds a dead body on stage and becomes a suspect in the murder. He has chromesthesia, "a type of sunesthesia where people hear sounds as colors, shapes, and textures." "He was accustomed to death, to corpses, to depravity. Drayco and his colleagues lived those nightmares by day, so others didn't have to dream them at night." The wife of the man whose body Drayco found is described like this: "There was something noble about Nanette. A dignity formed through years of wondering where her husband was, or with whom, and learning to hold her head up regardless. An innate strength, a will to persevere, no matter how brambled the journey." The Sheriff mentioned a victim had no enemies. "Drayco had yet to meet a person without enemies. Maybe not the murderous kind, but the type to take one word or one oversight, no matter how small and sharpen it into a blade of ill will." Drayco was talking to Yeagle about a case. "'I’m not here on a witch hunt, Earl. I only want the truth.' Yeagle snorted. 'Whose truth? Tends to vary, depending upon your point of view, doesn't it? Truth is worse than a moving target because it changes shapes.' Yeagle pointed toward the door. 'I think you should leave now.'" Drayco was talking to Deputy Nelia Tyler whose husband has multiple sclerosis. "Being a primary caregiver was a soul-sucking task. The physical and emotional demands chipped away at your sanity as slowly as melting ice on a glacier." Darcie Spier is interacting with Drayco and says: "'Why, I think you're jealous. That's why you're asking me these questions.' "'I call jealousy the dandelion emotion. Innocent looking, until it morphs from sunny yellow to a gossamer skeleton. And impossible to stop from destroying your yard once it spreads.'" I thought that was an excellent description of jealousy. I received a complimentary copy from the author and Barnes & Noble. That did not change my opinion for this review Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Moushine Zahr

    This is the first novel I've read from author B.V.Lawson. I've read a free ebook version of this title. The book follows the story of crime investigator from big city Washington D.C., Scott Drayco, going to meet a client at a small coastal old city only to find him dead in an Opera House. The crime investigator must first unravel the various and numerous hidden secrets of the many well established families of this small city with a History before being able to find out the real murderer and the m This is the first novel I've read from author B.V.Lawson. I've read a free ebook version of this title. The book follows the story of crime investigator from big city Washington D.C., Scott Drayco, going to meet a client at a small coastal old city only to find him dead in an Opera House. The crime investigator must first unravel the various and numerous hidden secrets of the many well established families of this small city with a History before being able to find out the real murderer and the motive. The leading character is well developed and created. Scott Drayco resembles professionnally to many crime investigators in most crime novels except that he used to be a child genius artist before turning to law enforcement. Furthermore, he just came out of a case with dramatic consequences. The secondary characters are also well developed, typical of small cities with some of their own specification. They're all related to each other one way or another, personally and/or professionally, in the past and/or in the present and future. Finding the murderer and the motive is like finding a needle in a haystack as there are many potentials suspects and motives. Furthermore, present crimes are also related to a cold case. Well written novel and looking forward reading more from the author B.V. Lawson.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Richard Copeland

    This was a mixed bag in that it showed promise but ended up not really delivering. In the end it meandered to a conclusion but the path was certainly confused. There were too many unbelievable and/or stereotypical characters combined with some pretty bizarre writing. Drayco has synesthesia so we get this: "Drayco was hating the color of Squier's voice even more. Worm-shaped blobs joined the burnt-caramel color, alongside the texture of razor tips." Really? Awkward similes such as 'Squier laughed l This was a mixed bag in that it showed promise but ended up not really delivering. In the end it meandered to a conclusion but the path was certainly confused. There were too many unbelievable and/or stereotypical characters combined with some pretty bizarre writing. Drayco has synesthesia so we get this: "Drayco was hating the color of Squier's voice even more. Worm-shaped blobs joined the burnt-caramel color, alongside the texture of razor tips." Really? Awkward similes such as 'Squier laughed like a terrier baying at a snake' are just jarring and I have never heard a terrier bay ... yap, maybe. Another example is 'The vein in Squier's neck throbbed like a purple spaghetti eel thrashing in a net.' If this was a horror story, maybe but this just doesn't work. Also, 'Squier's face was the color of framboise.' These all strike the reader as forced and a good editor would have sent all of this back to the author to be reworked. Characters roll objects around in their hands more than once but how does one roll a pencil in one case, and a salt shaker in another, around in one's hand? All too often scenario's play out that seem to have little purpose in the plot and seem contrived. Much of the Darcie character's 'performance' fits that description and perhaps the most egregious instance is the coyote-wolf hybrid attack on Drayco which just doesn't fit other than as a rather clumsy attempt to develop a different side of his character. I have an unfortunate impulse to finish a book once I've started it. In this case, I wish I hadn't. Given that there are so many better authors in this genre, I cannot recommend this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    This was a freebie on BookBub, which is a good way to look into authors I don't know and test out the first book of a series. Pretty good murder mystery in that it wasn't clear until the very end who the murderer was (I hate being able to guess too early). The protagonist, Scott Drayco, is gifted an abandoned Victorian-era opera house in Cape Unity, a small town on the Eastern Shore in Virginia. A potential client asks to meet him there, and when Drayco shows up to see his new property and meet This was a freebie on BookBub, which is a good way to look into authors I don't know and test out the first book of a series. Pretty good murder mystery in that it wasn't clear until the very end who the murderer was (I hate being able to guess too early). The protagonist, Scott Drayco, is gifted an abandoned Victorian-era opera house in Cape Unity, a small town on the Eastern Shore in Virginia. A potential client asks to meet him there, and when Drayco shows up to see his new property and meet the client, he finds the client gruesomely murdered on the stage. After he meets with the widow, she is also murdered. Drayco is one of those too-good-to-be-true-so-you-know-it's-fiction kind of PIs, being young, handsome, 6'4", with a Ph.D. in criminology, former FBI, and having been a child prodigy pianist who played Carnegie Hall. Uh huh.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather Doughty

    Great first series book! There is plenty of room to grow the character, learn more about him, and see how he evolves in his career as Private Eye. He is definitely a richly complex person. The whodunnit part of this story was quiet and not overly violent. It didn't involve large scale explosions and car chases. I really appreciated that. It had the appropriate level of "sturm und drang," small town charm, and interesting side characters. I really enjoyed the relationship between Scott and the Sh Great first series book! There is plenty of room to grow the character, learn more about him, and see how he evolves in his career as Private Eye. He is definitely a richly complex person. The whodunnit part of this story was quiet and not overly violent. It didn't involve large scale explosions and car chases. I really appreciated that. It had the appropriate level of "sturm und drang," small town charm, and interesting side characters. I really enjoyed the relationship between Scott and the Sheriff. What really kept me reading was the writing. It flows with great phrasing. Word choices are vast and descriptive. I could really picture everything that was on the page. Can't wait to read Book 2!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Beecroft

    "Played to Death" has the ingredients of a good mystery but misses opportunities and ham-handedly attempts to build a three-dimensional protagonist and universe. The chief missed opportunity is using the main character's background as a concert pianist as a tool to solve the mystery. This is attempted with the "b-b" clue but overall the possibilities of music and music adjacent clues were missed. It is clear the author took the time to map out character backgrounds, personalities, and motivation "Played to Death" has the ingredients of a good mystery but misses opportunities and ham-handedly attempts to build a three-dimensional protagonist and universe. The chief missed opportunity is using the main character's background as a concert pianist as a tool to solve the mystery. This is attempted with the "b-b" clue but overall the possibilities of music and music adjacent clues were missed. It is clear the author took the time to map out character backgrounds, personalities, and motivations. Unfortunately, the plot, the characters and their relationship to each other and the plot works better as a spreadsheet than in the story as written. Overall, it's an enjoyable enough fluff of a tale that is only disappointing because the framework for something great is there.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Scott Drayco, a Washington D.C. crime consultant, inherits a dilapidated opera house in lieu of his normal fee. He stops to check his new property before leaving for a long-planned vacation in sunny Cancun. Instead of the expected cobwebs and dust he finds a man, murdered and is drawn into the investigation. Drayco is a complicate man filled with regrets and nightmares -- a former FBI agent and concert pianist. The citizens of the small town of Cape Unity are also complicated -- a drunk, a disho Scott Drayco, a Washington D.C. crime consultant, inherits a dilapidated opera house in lieu of his normal fee. He stops to check his new property before leaving for a long-planned vacation in sunny Cancun. Instead of the expected cobwebs and dust he finds a man, murdered and is drawn into the investigation. Drayco is a complicate man filled with regrets and nightmares -- a former FBI agent and concert pianist. The citizens of the small town of Cape Unity are also complicated -- a drunk, a dishonest politician, an over-sexed married woman. Scott also makes friends with the owner of the bed and breakfast where he's staying and the wary sherif who needs his help. Lots of twists that kept me guessing until the very end. No graphic sex or violence

  27. 5 out of 5

    Larry V.

    Great characters and an exciting plot! I found this book to be quite enjoyable and fun to read! B. V. Lawson does a great job of creating strong, likeable, knowable characters. She does an equally good job of creating atmosphere--I could easily see and smell the town of Cape Unity! And her sense of pacing is quite skilled-- I could not quit reading as the plot raced to a conclusion! Two small quibbles with the book-- there were some typos in the Kindle edition I read (most glaringly, "stationEry Great characters and an exciting plot! I found this book to be quite enjoyable and fun to read! B. V. Lawson does a great job of creating strong, likeable, knowable characters. She does an equally good job of creating atmosphere--I could easily see and smell the town of Cape Unity! And her sense of pacing is quite skilled-- I could not quit reading as the plot raced to a conclusion! Two small quibbles with the book-- there were some typos in the Kindle edition I read (most glaringly, "stationEry bike"), and I would have benefitted from a more complete and clearly stated summary of all the various pieces of the puzzle from the main character. But, those details do not stop me from wanting to read the next Scott Drayco adventure!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Annemarie Groves

    Very engaging read about the former FBI now private consultant Drayco. He inherits a run down opera house in a small coastal town from a grateful client, on his first visit he finds a dead body on stage. He should leave it to the local police, but a puzzle is a puzzle and does an investigator ever really switch off. This opener takes us through the characters and traits of small town America, where secrets and stories intersperse with bigoted attitudes and double standards. When a second innocen Very engaging read about the former FBI now private consultant Drayco. He inherits a run down opera house in a small coastal town from a grateful client, on his first visit he finds a dead body on stage. He should leave it to the local police, but a puzzle is a puzzle and does an investigator ever really switch off. This opener takes us through the characters and traits of small town America, where secrets and stories intersperse with bigoted attitudes and double standards. When a second innocent is killed, maybe the killer has an agenda and maybe that now includes the demise of the nosey outsider.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jo Anne

    This is my first time reading anything by B.V. Lawson and the character of Scott Drayco but I will be looking for more. Drayco is a former FBI agent, a piano protégé and has a Ph.D. His character is interesting, dry witted and introspective. In this tale, a former client has left Drayco an abandoned opera house. When he arrives to take a look, he discovers a dead body--of his new client. Secondary characters are the Sheriff and a newbie deputy and I liked them as well. I don't know if they will b This is my first time reading anything by B.V. Lawson and the character of Scott Drayco but I will be looking for more. Drayco is a former FBI agent, a piano protégé and has a Ph.D. His character is interesting, dry witted and introspective. In this tale, a former client has left Drayco an abandoned opera house. When he arrives to take a look, he discovers a dead body--of his new client. Secondary characters are the Sheriff and a newbie deputy and I liked them as well. I don't know if they will be full time characters in following books, but I wouldn't mind seeing them. All in all a fast-paced read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Donadio

    Beautiful imagery. Well-written but dragged out at times. I suspected the guilty person at the beginning, but all the red herrings and convoluted relationship info veered me off the scent. The ending tied up the plot into a neat package, but reading it all at the same time made it sound like a grocery checklist. All the characters were complex. No one just had a job without a myriad of other jobs, talents, and sad stories in their pasts. Very developed characters, but maybe more time was needed Beautiful imagery. Well-written but dragged out at times. I suspected the guilty person at the beginning, but all the red herrings and convoluted relationship info veered me off the scent. The ending tied up the plot into a neat package, but reading it all at the same time made it sound like a grocery checklist. All the characters were complex. No one just had a job without a myriad of other jobs, talents, and sad stories in their pasts. Very developed characters, but maybe more time was needed on focused plot development. Clues were more and more murky as time went on, taking the reader away from the solution, instead of closer. In any event, I really enjoyed reading this book.

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