Never in Ink
by Marilyn Jax
Beaver’s Pond Press

"At some point, he'd need to ask for forgiveness, he realized, but not now."

Claire Caswell and Guy Lombard, the dynamic duo that represents the Caswell and Lombard private detective agency in Miami are going international once again. Two strong-minded, determined sleuths, Claire and Guy work with reckless abandon and a fearlessness that easily lends itself to troublesome and less than desirable situations. Readers, however, will find this daredevil nature exciting as they follow the peaks and valleys of their character's story. While the narrative wouldn't be the same without Guy, Jax has made it clear that Claire is the dominant protagonist by thrusting her into the majority of the dangerous situations, while Guy is left to lament that he was not there when his partner and love was in danger.

When Sergeant Massey of Miami-Dade police precinct requests Claire and Guy to shadow Antonio DiNetto, a series of events ensue that will transport readers from Italy to Switzerland, and then to France. Upon arriving in Italy, their cab driver is shot dead by a sniper, and an overly curious, unwelcoming officer greets the duo. Unlike most mystery novels, this one places a strong emphasis on giving readers a flavor of European culture and cuisine. Whether it's dining at popular Italian restaurants, attending the opening night of Romeo and Juliet at La Scala, visiting a 12th century fairytale castle from the Middle Ages, or mingling at an old-fashioned masquerade ball, Jax is intent on using setting as a key trigger for her plot arc.

With mystery novels, nothing is ever as it seems, nor should it be. Never in Ink is no different. Caswell and Lombard are extremely careful and prepared to not reveal their origins or purpose; however, every person they encounter seems to be on Antonio DiNetto's payroll, and he or she is quick to reveal the duo's numerous disguises and plans. Though the plot slows and becomes repetitive at times, particularly when the detectives are following DiNetto around restaurants and back to the hotel, the strong character development of Claire Caswell and Antonio DiNetto is potent enough to overshadow any shortcomings. For mystery aficionados, Never in Ink has a never-ending well of surprises. Well-developed characters with intriguing backstories, and a fast-paced, suspenseful plot will keep the reader itching for more.

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