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#BookReview Death by Sample Size by Susie Black


Susie Black, author of Death by Sample Size, requested I review her book. It’s not a genre I write in or read very often. Although, I do enjoy the Thursday Murder Club novels. Also, Ms. Black recently wrote a fascinating guest post about her take on writing what you know on this blog. So I figured, what the heck? Judging by the cover, the novel will be a humorous read.

Equal parts lightheartedness, acerbic wit, and murderous mayhem, Death by Sample Size will please those who enjoy a belly laugh while reading a who-done-it.

Death by Sample Size is a lighthearted mystery novel that deals with death and suspense. The protagonist, Holly Shlivnik, works in the swimsuit apparel industry as do the suspects and the victims. Holly is a lady who will laugh in the face of death (although not for the reason you might think), possesses the wit for many acerbic observations, and the gumption to crack the case of Bunny Frank’s murder even after facing threats herself.

All Black’s cast are characters in the truest sense and perhaps none more than Bunny Frank. Rarely have I seen the murder victim portrayed so convincingly as The Villain (yes, that is with a T and V). Not just a handful of people had a motivation to murder Bunny. Everyone did. Bunny is painted as a conniving, mean-spirited businesswoman willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. This means trampling whoever gets in her way.

The mystery aspect of the novel possessed enough suspense and high stakes to keep me interested. However, Ms. Black’s ample use of humor is where the story really shines. Holly Shlivnik is rarely without an appropriate zinger or rye observation for any situation. This gives the character a strong sense of voice and a unique one at that.

You’ll find much to savor in Death by Sample Size if you enjoy some laughs alongside your mystery. Presumably, it is the first in a series. I look forward to discovering the villain in the next installment because Bunny Frank is so darn memorable.

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