Book Review: Vacation is Murder by Carolyn Arnold

Cancun is calling your name in VACATION IS MURDER…

This wasn’t in the travel brochure…

There’s only so much relaxation two former detectives can handle—even if they’re on their honeymoon. With their recent fall into money, Sean and Sara McKinley should be living it up, enjoying the sun and beaches of Cancun. But heading into their third week they’ve had just about enough lying around. 

When the husband of a couple they’ve befriended is kidnapped and held for ransom, it has the McKinleys putting their experience to use. As they set out in the unfamiliar landscape of paradise, the investigation will have them risking their lives to stop a killer. 

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I have read several of Carolyn Arnold’s books including the first book in this series, The Day Job is Murder. I like her writing style so I was looking forward to reading Vacation is Murder.

Sean and Sara McKinley are on their honeymoon. They used to be detectives in New York but they were able to quit their jobs after Sean received a windfall and immediately proposed to Sara. After a few days of sun in Cancun, Sean and Sara find that they’re bored and decide to find something to do. Unfortunately, they weren’t planning on investigating a kidnapping and murder when they were looking for a new pastime. 

The McKinley Mysteries are cozy mysteries, perfect to bring along on vacation. Vacation is Murder is a quick and fun read. It includes mystery, a little romance, a little suspense, and even a couple of twists. I’m looking forward to reading more of Sean and Sara’s adventures.



A Note from the Author

The white beaches, the smell of the sea mixed with suntan lotion, a cold drink in my hand. Yeah, now, we’re talking. I don’t even need to close my eyes to imagine the salty, warm breeze whispering over my face, the sun kissing my skin… Sign me up again, Señor!

Now, you may have guessed it, but I’m talking about Cancun, Mexico. I’ve been lucky enough to return and the weather and the kind people are two things you can count on! The first time we went we visited the Chichén Itzá ruins in the Yucatan. WOW! What an experience.

The Mayans were extremely intelligent, and I noted this specifically given the design and positioning of their structures. If you stand at the base of the pyramid’s stairs and clap your hands, it will echo back to you as the sound of the quetzal, a bird that was sacred to ancient Mayans. On the spring and fall equinox, the stairs cast shadows and create the appearance of a snake, where it joins a huge serpent’s head that’s set at the base of the stairway. We missed seeing this by one day!

But as spectacular as it was there, I would be remiss to not comment on how hot it was! And I’m not saying “oh, yeah, fan, me, please,” or “bring me a cold beer.” I’m talking passing-out hot, and it’s a miracle that I didn’t just collapse. I remember being lightheaded and woozy… Thankfully I was able to stay upright, but I must say that it’s a good thing I’m stubborn! In defense of the excursion, both hubby and I are pleased that we had the experience, but we would suggest that if you go, bring lots of water and wear a hat. It is in the middle of a jungle, after all.

It was this trip, though, that inspired me to set my cozy mystery novella, Vacation is Murder, in Mexico. You’ll even get to experience the above-noted—and more!—through my characters’ eyes when trouble leads them to the jungle.

Oh, and one more thing: remember the sunscreen.
Carolyn Arnold


“There’s action and romance… The story line is quick and light—perfect for beach reading! It was my first introduction to her work, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Sean and Sara continue in the next phase of their life… It’s definitely a book for those who love the cozy mystery set. I’ll be reading more!”
–Stephanie Pitcher, Bestselling author 


About the McKinley Mysteries

Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Hart to HartCastleColomboMonkRockford FilesPsych, and Magnum PI.


About the Author

Carolyn Arnold is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series and has written nearly thirty books. Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark, POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

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