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Retro Reading: Die Buying by Laura DiSilverio

Welcome to the Fernglen Mall where murder is always on sale

Welcome to the Fernglen Mall where murder is always on sale

Shopping Has Never Been so Deadly

When I was looking for my first job, I thought it would be fun to work at the mall. I figured probably in a bookstore and when I had an interview (ironically with a former schoolmate and no, I didn't get the job) I thought this would be the perfect place to work.

Well, that was in the early '80's and a lot's happened since then. I now despise the mall and avoid it at all cost, but when the first installment of the mall cop mysteries arrived, I went back to those days when thinking of what it would be like to work at the mall.

In Die Buying, author Laura DiSilverio introduces us to Emma-Joy (EJ) Ferris, a former military cop who was forced to retire from her post due to an IED injury. One of EJ's options after being released from the hospital is move back home with her parents in Malibu or stay in the Washington, D.C. area to be closer to her grandfather.

She chooses the latter and gets a job at the Fernglen Galleria in Vernonville, Va. EJ loves her job and knows this will only be temporary since she wants to go back into full time police work. However, due to her injury, she feels she's being held back.

When a nude man's body is found in the display window of the exclusive women's store Diamante' and reptiles from The Herpetology Hut are released, EJ knows this isn't going to be an ordinary day.

The nude man turns out to be Jackson Porter, a local developer who is planning a golf resort behind the mall. This resort would be in direct competition with the mall and a lot of the mall tenants aren't too happy about the construction of it.

On her way home from work a few days' later, EJ stops at her co-workers home since no one has heard from him after he sent an email saying there was a family emergency. EJ discovers his body and also discovers Porter's sons' body in the mall's parking structure. EJ really has been having a bad week after discovering all this dead flesh.

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Although the detective in charge, Anders Helland, has warned her to keep her nose out of the investigation, she sets about on her own investigation hoping she can crack the case before the detective does.

While DiSilverio has brought an original story to life, it never really went anywhere. I felt like I was trapped in a mall nightmare and I wouldn't be able to leave. The behind the scenes working of a mall are captured brilliantly but the story itself lags something. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was lagging.

With three homicides in under 300 pages, this was I think a first in all of the books I've reviewed. The highest body count has been two in a couple of books and I do have to give the author credit for keeping all three murders separate. Unfortunately, for the reader, it may have been too much to follow for a debut series.

I think the potential is there for improvement but we'll see in future installments.

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