A petulant jump-jockey wanna-be. A family of international treasure scavenging pirates. An abusive husband, a
defiant step-son, and a proud wife. These are the characters that form the foundation of the lively plot of Blood Money.
is an American who immigrated to Ireland to marry the man of her dreams. Little does she realize that her husband’s quaint,
backward little home town hides deadly secrets. Patty and her husband Micheal arrive home one evening to discover a burglar
lurking in the attic of the family home they share with Micheal’s father, Seamas. The intruder is Miles, the teenage
son of a late friend and his newly remarried widow. Miles drops a bombshell with the revelation of a centuries-old debt owed
to his family for the cargo of an ill fated ship, the Grace O’Malley, owned by Seamas’ ancestors.
Seamas agrees to
launch an expedition to raise the Grace O’Malley so that Miles’ mother might sell the salvaged antiques at auction
to raise money to fund a divorce from Miles’ abusive step-father, money she is far too proud to take as charity. When Miles disappears, and an attempt is made to abduct Patty, it becomes clear that
Miles’ stepfather is out to stop the family’s interference and have his revenge.
The further Patty’s
husband and father-in-law try to send her from trouble, the more determined trouble seems to be to find her. Patty is sent
to join her sister and brother-in-law in Italy, where the search for
the wreck of the Grace O’Malley is already under way. When Patty overhears a crew member relaying information by ship’s
radio, she realizes someone other than the rightful owner is interested in Grace’s precious cargo. When the captain
of the salvage boat is attacked and nearly killed, Patty comes to the conclusion Italy is no longer the safe hideaway she believed it to be. Trouble has followed across the ocean, and is hot on her heels.
When both she
and her sister are abducted by pirates bent on scavenging the Grace, Patty must use all her wits to escape and save not only
her own life, but the lives of her sister and the injured Captain as well.
Pepper Smith’s debut reveals a promising new talent for lovers of suspense and mystery. I worried
at the beginning that the main character, Patty, allowed herself to be too easily removed from the action surrounding Miles’
disappearance, but soon learned the author had more danger, and chances for Patty to showcase her courage and cunning, in
store for her main character.
Blood Money’s plot has more twists and turns than the halls of an Irish castle,
with a lively pace and cunningly crafted clues. A pleasant summer read, the patient reader will find an action packed, satisfying
conclusion to the end of this international journey of intrigue.
I give this book
a Muse Review Mark of Good, for its well-constructed plot and satisfying conclusion.