Beg (ga) (he) r
by J.R. Armstrong
Willowrose Publishing

"Isn't the part of the excitement of living your own mysteryseeing if you'll get caught?"

For over three decades, eight sorority sisters have gotten together for an annual getaway that includes fun, relaxation, and catching up. At the center of this group we meet DeMaris Pala, the free-spirited, one-time suicidal, freelance writer who seems to attract calamity. And while Demaris' imaginative and inquisitive nature seems a plus for her career, the trait seems to distance her from these old college friends. To spice up this latest gathering, this time around DeMaris has suggested that each of the women take on a new identity. Here the newly self-appointed occupations will include a member of a racing pit crew, an Aircraft Instructor, Doctor, Dentist, Chef, General, Hot Air Balloonist, and best-selling author. Clearly DeMaris is the only one taking the idea seriously.

Part Nancy Drew, part Jessica Fletcher, but mostly DeMaris Pala, aka DeMaris Azayko, Armstrong presents a truly likeable individual who is smart, down-to-earth, complete with foibles, but able to hold her own against the well-intentioned sisterhood so critical of her life choices. From this book's unusual title styling, the meaning of which is revealed in the final chapter, to the unusual 7-part epilogue used as a final wrap-up, Armstrong draws the reader in amidst DeMaris' real actions and those of her fictional creations. From a squawking African Gray with a hidden key, to help from a bag lady and secrets in a safe deposit box that may be connected to the legendary bank robber, D.B. Cooper, Armstrong's mystery comes alive in the heart, soul, and action of the main character.

Amidst mounting twists and turns, Armstrong includes classic story elements such as costume disguises, breaking and entering, chase scenes, and a signature dead body. But when the final secrets are revealed, including a romance with a twist, hopefully this engaging tour de force is just the beginning of an exciting new phase for this curious and creative character.

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