Straight and Level, Penelope Haines

Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

STRAIGHT AND LEVEL is the second in a series of novels based around central character, commercial pilot Claire Hardcastle, which fall into the crimance category. Part crime fiction, part romance, with a bit of adventure thrown in courtesy of the locations and the situations into which the author can put a pilot. In this case, the relationship aspects are high on the agenda, the adventure comes by way of a kidnapping and enforced fight, and the crime element is all about murder and corruption in developer circles. Solid plot set up, and the use of the commercial pilot aspect is well done. 

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The sequel to "Death on D'Urville," sees Claire Hardcastle involved in another adventure. Her partner, Jack, has been sent on secondment for a month to the Solomon's and Claire plans to use the time he's away to settle down to her studies, observe Dry July and think about the direction in which their passionate relationship is heading. If only life were that simple! The night Claire meets newly arrived property developer Jim Mason is also the night she has a chance conversation with investigative journalist Andrew Camborne, who's been researching reports of crime and corruption on the Kapiti Coast. A short time later, Claire is witness to an altercation between the two men. The next morning, Andrew's dead body is found on a Paraparaumu Street. Is the cause of death accident, or homicide? 

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