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Book: ‘Murder Packs a Suitcase’ by Cynthia Baxter – July 4th, 2017

by on Jul.04, 2017, under Books

Murder Packs a Suitcase (Murder Packs a Suitcase, #1)Murder Packs a Suitcase by Cynthia Baxter
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

My goodness, when a well intentioned novel is being put together, this is excellent proof that all can go wrong. I can read the effort to prepare and research and plan quirks in the plot to give the book a strong foundation. But poor writing and a sloppy understanding of travel writing digs a grave for ‘Murder Packs a Suitcase’.

Since I was married to a travel writer, hung out with travel writers, went to many travel writer gatherings and do some travel writing of my own, I know a bit about the subject. Obviously the writer does not. That would be OK, but she should have talked to a travel writer for some idea what happens. Travel writers rarely move in packs to write a story for the very reason of competition. A series of competing magazines knows better than to send their writers all at the same time to Florida or all of their magazines would have similar stories coming out all at the same time. Travel writers gathering as colleagues is something else. We went to travel writer gatherings with the side intent of getting a story, but didn’t tell the others about it to get that certain angle.

Adding to the above is the writer poor writing of the book. All of the characters questioned freely give any information asked. Despite the person asking is a just a writer. She is no part of law enforcement, has no idea where in the world she is and has no motivation involving her job to have experience questioning people. How the writer jumps to the conclusion the reader will buy all of this is preposterous.

The writers inability to write has the characters with similar dialogue making them all similar, with only physical descriptions to set them apart. Then there is the nasty habit of each knowing all sorts of trivia as if reading from an encyclopedia…or copied from one. There are lots of inconsistencies throughout. At one point the main character’s editor claims to stumbled over the story of a murder. Within a page the main character learns the story is splashed all over the news all over the country. How did the magazine editor miss that?

Also, the quotes opening each chapter are trite and irritating.

About Florida: Making all this worse is her lack of understanding Orlando, Orange County, etc.
There are all kinds of names of places that are wrong. Seems most are to simplify to include the Orlando name, though all are actually not in Orlando. Most these days don’t know most all of the Central Florida tourism areas are not in Orlando, which is a small city in a huge county.

There are lots of details that drove me crazy. Like the main character walking by herself in Cypress Gardens. That was beyond impossible. It was a small place with eyes watching everywhere at all times, besides all of the employees about. Something about two haunted houses nearly side by side. A difficulty in zoning, parking, stormwater issues and just trying to make a buck. No investor would’ve let it happen either.

The worse part was the main character looking for “Old Florida” with ZERO understanding what that term means. To us natives, it means a lot. Just about anybody at Gatorland could’ve told her. Did she never speak to Tim Williams there? How on earth could that not have happened?

Dinosaur World is NOT “Old Florida”. It’s in the old Florida area of Thonotosassa, but otherwise barely 20 years old. Old Florida would have sent her to any of our state parks in Central Florida, Beefy King, Lake Eola, etc. of course, that is old Orlando, not old Florida. She was told to write of Old Florida and went after Anything Orlando in a Tourist Area.

I noticed the author claimed to speak to Liz Langley at the Orlando Weekly. i would think Liz could’ve straightened her out. Unless the communication was done through e-mail which would explain the problem of communication.

Did the writer know a character she has in her book, Phil Diamond, was also the name, at the time, of a City of Orlando City Commissioner?

Bottom line: I don’t recommend this book. 3 out of ten points.

View all my reviews


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