Review: Survival Can Be Deadly by Charlotte Stuart

About The Book:

Survival Can Be Deadly: A Discount Detective by Charlotte Stuart

Survival Can Be DeadlyWhen single mom and recent widow Cameron Chandler takes a much-needed job at Penny-wise Investigations, a detective agency conveniently located in a suburban shopping mall, she grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Her first case is to locate a runaway girl, something her predecessor had been pursuing before he disappeared. Following in his footsteps, the trail leads to a survivalist camp on a remote island in northern Puget Sound. Armed with only a Swiss Army Knife and her quirky on-the-job training as a suburban sleuth, Cameron uncovers more than she bargained for. She soon finds herself in a fight for her own survival in this lighthearted mystery set in Seattle and the San Juan Islands to the north.

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MyCameron’s first morning at a survivalist camp retreat:

It seemed as though I had barely closed my eyes when bells began ringing. “Everyone up,” an authoritative voice ordered. “Breakfast in fifteen minutes.”

All around me women were leaping out of beds. I forced myself upright and managed to touch the cold floor with my warm feet without swearing. I wasn’t surprised to see Dinah looking bright and eager. Groaning, I dragged myself up and pulled on my clothes. Then I dutifully followed the others to the back room where I splashed icy water over my face and brushed my teeth. By the time I went out back to dispose of the basin water I was almost awake. And getting to the outhouse was becoming a necessity.

I rushed down the boardwalk alongside a couple of other women, all surreptitiously jockeying to be the first to get there. The outhouse was a two-seater, but I still had to wait in line. And as I stood there staring at the wood structure with the traditional moon in the door, it occurred to me how strange it would be sitting right next to someone while going to the bathroom. No partition. No need to pass TP under the

stall wall. Just two survivors sharing a toilet.


Leo Review sm

The term ‘private investigator’ evokes images of trench coats, smoky bars, and a dingy office in a low rent building with a caricature for a receptionist. That is not quite what Cameron Chandler encounters when she decides to apply for a job opening at her local mall in “Survival Can Be Deadly” the debut book in Charlotte Stuart’s Discount Detective series. Stuck in the all too common area of ‘having a degree but being either too qualified or too inexperienced for any given job, Cameron takes a chance and follows a help wanted sign into Penny Wise Discount Investigations. She finds the job fun and challenging and she is soon working her first solo case, a missing teen. The information she hunts down leads her undercover at survivalist camp.

I love a great ensemble piece. Cameron is our heroine but she is backed by a wonderful group of sleuths working for Penny Wise. Led by the enigmatic P.W. Griffith, each investigator brings something fun and important to the mix. They arm Cameron with tips of the trade and necessary gadgets to get her job done. They also add more than a fair share of humor to the story, while providing a great contrast to Cameron’s homelife dominated by her busy body mother and her kids. Cameron comes across as truly genuine and relatable. She is torn between needing to be there for her children as they deal with all the new circumstances in their lives and forging a solid place for herself. 

I really enjoyed the gumshoe aspect of the story. Cameron has a talent for chasing down information and pulling together clues. She keeps a cool head in a crisis and she is learning to be a bit sneaky. If she survives her partner’s driving, I surmise that she is going to be great at this job.

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I received a complimentary evaluation copy of this book. All opinions and insights are my own.



About The Author:

Charlotte Stuart
In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart, PhD, has taught college courses in communication, gone commercial fishing in Alaska, and was the VP of HR and Training for a large credit union. Her current passion is for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching herons, eagles, seals and other sea life from her Vashon Island home office.

Author Links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads



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