I’m a huge Catherine McKenzie fan, and the first of a new series written under the name Catherine Mack might be my favorite of her novels.

EVERY TIME I GO ON VACATION SOMEONE DIES introduces best-selling author Eleanor Dash. As readers join Eleanor on an Italian book tour that includes historical settings and dramatic views of the Mediterranean—plus lots of Italian food and wine—they embark on a fast-paced summer romp through murder and intrigue.

I fell for Eleanor with her opening lines: “Bless me father, for I have sinned. I want to commit a homicide.”

She’s in a confessional in a church in Rome at the start of the book tour, and the person she wants to kill off is the lead character of her Vatican Mysteries series, Connor Smith. But Connor is not a figment of her imagination. He’s the handsome conman who ensnared her in passion and betrayal when she was young and naïve. He’s also been blackmailing her for years. She leaves the church and there he is, demanding help because someone wants to kill him—a sentiment she understands.

From that moment on, Eleanor’s fictional world and real life collide. Add in a stalker, other authors with their own agendas, Eleanor’s sister / assistant who has a slew of reasons for resenting Eleanor, and Eleanor’s sexy former lover Oliver and nothing is quite as it seems. When the bodies start piling up, there are plenty of suspects and even an Agatha Christie whodunit scene in a library. But is Conner really the intended victim? The murderer has to be someone on the tour, but who and why?

I loved Eleanor’s easy narration style with barbed insider comments on publishing (her views on Goodreads had me laughing out loud). She also breaks through the fourth wall to address the reader directly—often through footnotes. Some reviewers have suggested skipping the footnotes but why, why, why? They are packed with hilarious insights.

I can’t wait to read her next adventure, and I hope it includes footnotes.

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