REVIEW: ‘Dying Brand’ by Wendy Tyson

Dying Brand Book Cover Dying Brand
An Allison Campbell Mystery
Wendy Tyson
Mystery
264

When image consultant Allison Campbell attends an award ceremony to honour a designer friend, she’s thrust into a murder investigation. Only this time, it’s personal.

A former boyfriend is dead, slain on the streets of Philadelphia. His widow claims he was meeting with Allison, yet Allison hadn’t spoken to him in years. Nothing about his death—or life—makes sense. When compromising photos from their past arrive at Allison’s office, they raise more questions than they answer.

Driven to find justice, Allison deconstructs the image her ex had created for himself, looking for clues about the man he’d become. As her hunt for the truth unveils secrets, Allison’s past and present collide—with deadly results.

Wendy Tyson writes excellent mysteries. That much I know, from reading two of her previous books – Deadly Assets and The Seduction of Miriam Cross. When I picked up Dying Brand, I was not disappointed by the mystery that unravelled within the pages.

From the get go, it’s clear that something isn’t quite adding up in the death of Scott Fairweather. Allison Campbell, Image Consultant (and sometimes sleuth), is pulled into the fray when someone starts sending her photos of her in the midst of a heated affair with Scott, from years ago. Who is sending them, and why, is left a mystery for more than half of the book, as the mystery slowly revealed itself.

Tyson does a great job of teasing the clues out of a story. Nothing is revealed too quickly, but the story doesn’t drag. Refreshingly, the outcome remained unknown until I reached it – there was no guessing in the first few chapters who the bad guy really was.

There was quite a bit of Allison’s personal life included in this book; her family drama, her boyfriend/ex-husband, her best friend and his older lover… I liked how this was handled in this book better than in it’s predecessor; the introduction of Allison’s little sister was interesting, and she was better developed than the somewhat distant older sister, or the abusive father who has mellowed in old age. That said, I still thought there was a little too much sex (really, I think Allison and Jason didn’t share a scene without taking each other’s clothes off).

Overall, I loved the mystery in this book. It was complicated and elusive, which I must prefer over a simpler whodunnit plot where I can guess what’s happened before I’ve even settled into the read! I am still interested in where Tyson takes her headstrong character next; I feel that there’s still a little way to go in terms of character development, I just can’t quite connect with Allison at all. However, if Tyson keeps her mysteries as fresh and intriguing as she has so far, I’m excited to see what comes next!

If you’re feeling lucky, click here to enter a giveaway for Dying Brand!

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I received a copy of Dying Brand by Wendy Tyson, the third book in the Allison Campbell mystery series, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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REVIEW: Deadly Assets by Wendy Tyson

Deadly Assets Book Cover Deadly Assets
An Allison Campbell Mystery
Wendy Tyson
Mystery
306

An eccentric Italian heiress from the Finger Lakes. An eighteen-year-old pop star from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Allison Campbell's latest clients seem worlds apart in every respect, except one: Both women disappear on the same day. And Allison's colleague Vaughn is the last to have seen each.

Allison's search for a connection uncovers an intricate web of family secrets, corporate transgressions and an age-old rivalry that crosses continents. The closer Allison gets to the truth, the deadlier her quest becomes. All paths lead back to a sinister Finger Lakes estate and the suicide of a woman thirty years earlier. Allison soon realizes the lives of her clients and the safety of those closest to her aren't the only things at stake.

I received a copy of Deadly Assets by Wendy Tyson in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

From the book summary that I received, I was under the impression that impeccably groomed Allison Campbell was a female detective. In fact, she is an image consultant! I thought that was a pretty interesting job to have, especially when it involves the occasional crime fighting on the side!

I found the mystery that unravelled in Deadly Assets to be fascinating; I was drawn into the complicated webs woven between the characters and didn’t know who the bad guys were and what their motives were until the very end.  I consider that the mark of a successful crime novel!

I’ll admit that I didn’t feel a huge connection to the characters; perhaps it was because this was the second book in the series and Tyson didn’t waste words giving much backstory, which meant I may have missed some of the nuances in a few of the relationships. I felt Allison was a bit stiff (and had lots of unexplained headaches), but that could of been a part of her persona as image consultant. Overall, I appreciated the mystery more than the characters themselves.

Earlier this year, I read and reviewed another mystery by Tyson, called The Seduction of Miriam Cross (A Delilah Powers Mystery). The mystery was equally riveting, if not more so, and I found the characters a little more interesting. I think I preferred that book over this one, but would happily pick up the next book in either series! I’d be quite interested to see how Tyson develops her characters in subsequent books.

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