Review: Death By Beauty by Gabrielle Lord

Title: Death by Beauty {Gemma Lincoln #5}

Author: Gabrielle Lord

Published: Hachette Australia September 2012

Synopsis: How far would you go to look young and beautiful? A young woman is attacked, she claims, by a vampire . Two more are found dead and hideously disfigured. A journalist goes missing after visiting Sapphire Springs Spa. And it s up to Gemma Lincoln, PI, to find out what is going on. In her first week back on the job after maternity leave, finding a balance between investigating brutal crimes, caring for baby Rafi and making time for herself and Mike is all too much. Something has to give, but not while a third woman s life is in danger. As she moves closer to tying the crimes together, Rafi disappears. Facing a mother s worst nightmare, Gemma discovers what she is prepared to do to save her son.

Status: Read on August 30, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy Hachette Australia}

My Thoughts:

It’s been 5 years since the last Gemma Lincoln novel, I can only assume Gabrielle Lord has been too busy with her Conspiracy 365 series in the interim.

In terms of this series it has been about 18 months or so since the end of Shattered and Gemma is supposed to be easing back into her work as a private investigator after the birth of Raphael (Rafi). But Gemma’s first client confesses she is terrified of her husband and believes he is planning to kill her, her best friend, Detective Sergeant Angie McDonald asks Gemma to speak with a woman who was drugged and attacked by a man pretending to be a vampire and she receives an excited call from a acquaintance, a journalist named Janet Chancy, who is on her way to Gemma’s with big news but never shows up. Lord weaves a handful of seemingly unrelated cases into a narrative that centers around Sapphire Springs, an exclusive day spa, that has developed a cutting edge cosmetic surgery procedure.
To be honest the links between each case are fairly transparent early on in the novel though it takes a lot longer for Gemma to put the pieces together. Thankfully, there are elements of the plot that are unexpected which partially redeems the lack of subtlety and too convenient conspiracy. The concept of the story is interesting and the pace is good, though nearly 400 pages, it was a quick read for me.

While Gemma has a history of being feisty and impulsive, her behaviour in Death By Beauty is almost reckless and there were facets of Gemma’s investigation that I did not see as credible. Her investigations are a little sloppy, such as when she connects with Tolmacheff by answering his online dating ad but does little to protect her real identity, as well as breaking into the cabin at Sapphire Springs without considering camera surveillance. Gemma also fails to take serious precautions even when she suspects someone has been watching her home and makes herself a target when she confronts her bitter enemy, Lorraine Litchfield.

Part of her careless behaviour can perhaps be blamed on her current state of emotional turmoil. Mike, Gemma’s partner, is unhappy about her becoming caught up in so many investigations, especially when one of those cases links to Steve, her ex-lover and Rafi’s biological father. Gemma can’t let go of her connection to Steve which threatens not only her relationship with Mike, but also her life, and the life of her son. As Gemma assesses her feelings for Steve, she ignores Mike’s proposal and his attempts to discuss their living arrangements. On top of which, Hugo turns up needing a place to stay placing further strain on Mike and Gemma’s relationship.

I am glad that Gabrielle Lord has revisited Gemma Lincoln with Death By Beauty and the conclusion suggests that she still hasn’t quite finished with the series and with the reprint of the entire series this month, I suggest those new to it start with the first book Feeding The Demons. Though not without flaws, Death By Beauty is a page turner and sure to be enjoyed by fans.

Available to Purchase

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via Booko

Gemma Lincoln Series

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Australian Bookshelf
    Sep 01, 2012 @ 11:26:35

    I haven’t heard of this series before Shelleyrae, but it sounds great! Great covers too



  2. Trackback: A Fair Dinkum Round Up – Sept 2012 | Fair Dinkum Crime
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