Hawaii based private detective Val Lyon has been and done a lot of things in her life. One thing that links them all together is her need for adrenaline. Because of that, she is onboard a Cessna airplane preparing to make a parachute jump as this short story opens.
It is her first jump and she is plenty scared. Onboard the small aircraft with her is a cameraman named Justin, and two others, Art and Lori. While both are training instructors and in a romantic relationship, Art has been her instructor from the start. All that hard work is about to pay off as the four leave the safety of the airplane and begin their fall to earth. Not everyone lands via parachute. Suspicions are soon raised by some and with Val on that fatal flight; she has a very personal reason to investigate.
Nominated for a Derringer Award by the Short Mystery Fiction Society, this story was Val Lyon’s first published story according to the author note at the end. Originally published by Mystery Buff Magazine in 1998, it has recently been released again by Ilium Books. When it was made available for free for a limited time earlier this month, I took the opportunity to pick it up.
I wasn’t disappointed. Drop Dead Zone is a good one.
As I noted earlier in the month when I reviewed another Val Lyon short story titled TEED OFF, Mark Troy and I became friends a number of years ago through a local writers group. He has been a huge help to me from a writing angle with my own work as well as personally. This story was published long before I joined the local group. Furthermore, I had never seen it before it appeared free making it available for me to read and review.
I have been writing stories and reviewing since 1998 and that means I have made quite a few friends along the way. I’m not stripping the work of friends from my TBR pile. But, I can and will tell you, the reader, of these relationships when they exist so you can decide whether or not to consider that sort of thing when you read my reviews.
Drop Dead Zone
Kevin R. Tipple © 2011