Killer Image by Wendy Tyson (+ Giveaway!)

Killer Image Aug 13
Killer Image (An Allison Campbell Mystery) by Wendy Tyson
 Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Milk this: appearances can be deceiving.

Synopsis: Philadelphia image consultant Allison Campbell is not your typical detective.  She’s more familiar with the rules of etiquette than the rules of evidence, prefers three-inch Manolos to comfy flats and relates to Dear Abby, not Judge Judy.

When Allison’s latest Main Line client, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter of a White House hopeful, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney, Allison fights to prove her client’s innocence when no one else will.  But in a place where image is everything, the ability to distinguish the truth from the façade may be the only thing that keeps Allison alive.

Killer Image is the first in the Allison Campbell mystery series.

My two cents

Allison Campbell looks all "together" because that's what she's in the business of -- she's an image consultant. She thinks nothing of being asked to take on a makeover of Hank McBride's 15-year-old problem child / goth girl / witch, Maggie McBride, in hopes of cleaning up his image for his senatorial bid.

But what timing! This make-over takes place on the heels of a gruesome and seemingly Satanist ritualistic murder of a high profile divorce attorney, a murder which directly links Maggie.

Allison finds herself drawn to Maggie, just like one of her previous wards Violet Swann, and she is convinced that Maggie is simply a lonely child who lacks the attention of her parents. Allison turns sleuth to clear Maggie's name. As she gets deeper into her investigation, Allison starts digging up skeletons in the lives of Philadelphia's rich, prominent and powerful. And she unwittingly unearths some of her own skeletons in the process.

Will Allison clear Maggie's name?

Just like the premise of this book, this book's cover threw me off: I thought this would be fluffy chick lit with a goth twist to it (see left for the original). Sometime between accepting the book for review and actually getting this post up, the cover changed to the one on the right, and I see why (unfortunately I don't like the new cover).

But this is so much more than chick lit. It is suspense, crime, thriller, mystery, and psychological study all rolled into one. It is also extremely well written, terse, succinct, and has great pacing.

Appearances can be deceiving indeed. This book milks this premise.

First, with its characters. All the characters are given solid back stories, well-rounded lives. I want to get to know them better! This book's introduction to Allison as the main character and to Vaughn, her sidekick sleuth and co-worker, makes me empathetic to their own demons they are wrestling with; Allison's split from hubby Jason, her tragic past with Violet Swann, and her relationship with mentor and ex-mother-in-law make for a fascinating heroine. Vaughn, meanwhile, has a twin brother he has been keeping secret all this time ... why?

Secondly, with the plot. The rich and powerful of Main Line, Philadelphia harbour secrets. Tyson takes us into their lavish houses, looking beyond their beautiful faces and bodies, to reveal lives that are complicated and even messed up.

I was thrown into a spin as each character made an appearance and their part in the storyline came into play. I was always second-guessing whodunit and I loved the feeling that I was getting set up by Tyson! Such a mind-messer!

Is Maggie who she claims to be, or is she just a misunderstood kid? Is Maggie's gorgeous mother, Sunny, truly concerned about Maggie's welfare, or is she simply under the thumb of her irksome husband Hank McBride? Is Arnie Feldman such an unsavoury character involved in too messy divorces, or did he just poke his nose where it didn't belong?

As you can see, I can't reveal anything because it would totally spoil everything for you. So I'll leave you with: read it and I hope it surprises you as much as it did me!

I look forward to reading more by this author, as well as the next installment in the Allison Campbell camp.

Verdict: A surprise of a book! I loved it! A suspenseful thriller-mystery revolving around the darker side of the seemingly perfect lives of the rich, beautiful and powerful. I highly recommend this if you're a fan of psychological mysteries.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Check out the rest of the tour here. If you're intrigued by this book, you may also want to join the giveaway (US/Can).

Henery Two - WATysonAbout Wendy Tyson

Wendy Tyson wrote her first story at age eight and it’s been love ever since. When not writing, Wendy enjoys reading other people’s novels, traveling, hiking, and playing hooky at the beach – and if she can combine all four, even better. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again with her husband, three kids and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs. She and her husband are passionate organic gardeners and have turned their small urban lot into a micro farm. Killer Image is Wendy’s first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series.

Connect with Wendy on her website, Twitter, or Facebook.


1 paperback (US/Can)
Copy provided by the publisher Via TLC Book Tours

Killer Image Aug 13
Killer Image (An Allison Campbell Mystery) by Wendy Tyson

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (October 1, 2013)


  1. Thanks for the thoughtful review and for hosting KILLER IMAGE on your blog! So thrilled that you enjoyed the novel and that it was able to surprise you in a good way!

    1. Thanks for writing such a great read, Wendy! I look forward to more of Allison's adventures!

  2. I am entering your giveaway.
    It would be great to win a copy of Killer Image by Wendy Tyson.
    I enjoy reading and discovering new authors.
    I enjoyed reading your review of this book and it sounds like a book i would enjoy reading.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Wayne -- thanks for entering the giveaway and participating in the tour!

  3. I'm glad you were pleasantly surprised by this one! Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.


© guiltless readingMaira Gall