Rating: 3.3 ⭐
Excess Baggage by Jay Forman sends you to Eastern Canada to follow along on a fun geocaching trip with Lee Smith and her new billionaire husband Jack. This corporate retreat provides the opportunity for Lee to escape the revived media spotlight about her connection to Mr. Clean, a prolific Canadian serial killer and her father. The fun soon ends, however, when murders begin to follow them at every stop, launching this team building exercise into a murder mystery.
The biggest strength this book offers is a strong female protagonist who brings you along her travel adventures and shares her love of the Maritimes. You truly feel the beauty of each location shine through the pages and it makes you want to immediately pack your bags and head over to Newfoundland. The music sprinkled throughout the book is also an effective way of setting the tone and mood throughout the mystery.
The cast of characters is an interesting one, with a lot of female jealousy appearing at the very beginning of the trip. This ultimately fades away as the story progresses, but it does highlight Lee’s personality and inability to make strong connections.
One aspect I would have liked to see in this story is a more in-depth look at the main characters, specifically the family. You can sense the coldness between Lee and her mother and brother, but there isn’t enough information to make you understand how these circumstances came to be. In fact, even her relationship with her husband sometimes feels kept at arm’s length.
This book can certainly be read as a standalone fast-paced murder mystery, but what I would hope from the series is a deeper look at the family and the backstory of how they dealt with Mr. Clean and the father’s murder convictions.
Definitely enjoyable, a fun read!
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