BOOK REVIEW: Play Dead by Meryl Sawyer

When Newport Beach heiress Hayley Fordham heads to Costa Rica on an art commission, she has no idea she's narrowly escaped an assassin's car bomb. But before the paint's even dry on her mural, her stepsiblings have arranged her funeral and redivided the family trust. The fact that Hayley is still very much alive remains a secret to everyone but FBI investigator Ryan Hollister, who intercepts the "victim" returning home in the flesh.

Ryan has zero tolerance for the pampered elite. But there's something about the complex Hayley that sets his blood racing. With evidence pointing to a Fordham family associate, Ryan needs her cooperation—and her closeness—more than he dares admit. Because now, especially now, he's prepared to risk anything to stop Hayley from being killed...again.

'Play Dead' by Meryl Sawyer is a book I had read before but it had been a while.  It was very well written and even with having read it there was enough twists and turns that I was still guessing as I neared the end of the book.  I have to say I really enough reading mystery novels.  But I struggle with mystery novels due to the sheer number of characters that need to be introduced rather quickly if the book is to flow.  I find myself having to look back a lot to try to remember who is who. However, that is a me issue and not a writing issue.

Haylee Fordham's family thinks she is dead.  Her car was blown up in a local restaurant parking lot.  However, it's not long after the memorial and Haylee shows up alive and well.  But who wanted her dead?  And why?  Meryl Sawyer takes you through the twists and turns of figuring out just those questions while also developing strong side stories and engaging the reader into the actual lives of the characters.  I didn't feel like I was slogging through the story to find out who tried to murder the main character.  The story was engaging and added to the mystery instead of taking away from it.

The drawback for me was the romance.  It didn't feel natural or organic.  And instead of adding to the story it felt like an aside and actually took away from the story.  Don't get me wrong, I have read my fair share of romance novels.  But I didn't pick this up as a romance.  The cover had clothed people after all :S  The colliding of the characters with the romance felt forced and out of place.  It smoothed over towards the end though.

I did enjoy 'Play Dead'.  It was mostly well written and the story line and the characters were engaging and captivating.  The mystery wasn't wide open to be completely figured out before you got to the reveals.  And there were multiple reveals.  It was wrapped up a tad too neatly at the end but that did not detract from the overall story.

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Play Dead
About Meryl Sawyer
Responsible for more than 25 romantic novels (and still counting) Meryl Sawyer has quickly become one of the biggest names in romance fiction. A New York Times best-selling author (as well as an author that has won numerous other awards for her writing), Meryl Sawyer has established a track record of excellence not only in her writing, but also with her storytelling and ability to reel in new readers that might not have otherwise picked up a romantic piece of fiction.

Website | Goodreads

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