Art books

Tessa Bailey Deftly Combines Murder and Romance in ‘My Killer Vacation’

Tessa Bailey’s new novel ‘My Killer Vacation’ is fun, funny and killer vacation (included?) of all other thoughts and responsibilities. Known for novels like “It Happened One Summer” and “Hook, Line, and Sinker,” Bailey is directing another bestselling romance novel that is sure to be a summer favorite.

The story combines the murder mystery genre with romance, which may be a combination that readers don’t often see. The novel’s main character, Taylor, is why this seemingly odd mix of genres works. She is, in many ways, a traditional romance novel – brown hair, green eyes, and a dazzling smile to match her second-grade teacher persona. However, she’s also a fan of true-crime podcasts and needs to prove to herself that she can be brave, which is why she jumps on the investigation bandwagon after discovering a dead body at the vacation home she’s been on. rented for her and her brother. Taylor is paired with Myles, an amorous bounty hunter (with tattoos and a tragic backstory) who is intent on keeping her away from the investigation and the danger that comes with it. In these two characters, we see how two completely different genres can come together in a puzzle that showcases the best qualities of romance and mystery.

The success of the novel lies in its characters. As is the case with many romance novels, the secondary characters are great, especially Taylor’s brother, Jude. He’s a hilarious addition to the book, constantly commenting on the man in his sister’s life, while being Taylor’s number one defender, protector, confidant, and supporter. The scenes with Taylor, Myles, and Jude are always entertaining because their dynamics work so well.

Taylor and Myles fit the stereotypical “grumpy/sunny” romance novel trope, but their interactions rarely seem clichéd or predictable. The murder mystery at hand allows readers to see them outside of a completely romantic context. They also both have external worries, concerns and insecurities, ensuring that they are not uniquely defined by each other. A romance novel’s biggest downfall is when its characters become so wrapped up in each other that they forget about everything else in their lives, often losing the parts of their personality that made them lovable at first. Luckily, we don’t have that problem with Taylor and Myles – they learn from each other and change accordingly, but never at the cost of completely losing each other.

While more aspects of the mystery story would have added to the reading experience (more suspects, clues, gore, etc.), nothing felt lost in this book. It never tries to be anything it’s not – even the title “My Killer Vacation” lets readers know they’re in for a slightly quirky, funny novel they can simply enjoy. This feeling lasts throughout the epilogue. As someone who typically has mixed feelings about romantic epilogues — they’re usually either too predictable or don’t add anything to the story — I can confidently say that this epilogue made me laugh out loud. I didn’t want to know more or feel a sense of incompleteness — Bailey knew how to finish her book, and she did it well. She did it well.

Fans of his other books will surely find this novel a fantastic addition to his oeuvre. She nails romantic pairings again while still managing to bring something new to this story. The elements of “My Killer Vacation” are similar to some of his other books – for example, the “grumpy/sunny” trope of “It Happened One Summer” – but the two books are undeniably varied. Bailey knows how to write stroke after stroke without having recycled strokes or repeated characters. Needless to say, anyone looking for a fun, easy read on the beach can rest assured knowing that “My Killer Vacation” will tick all of their boxes.

Daily Arts Writer Sabriya Imami can be reached at [email protected].


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