"This alluring mystery [Dead Cereus] offers a brush of romance and plentiful humor, combined with abundant details about rare plants and gardening. The plot moves briskly and evenly and will keep readers engaged. The main character is energetic and enthusiastic. Side characters are well crafted and great fun. The inclusion of recipes from the novel's event is a nice touch. The focus on plant life, paired with a mystery, allows this novel to stand apart."
"Seamon's writing is at its best when she delves into her atmospheric descriptions of flora and botanical plants and the luscious natural foods and drinks concocted from plant ingredients (recipes are included in the back). All of the plants are found within the varied landscapes of the college greenhouse complex. Interesting characterizations, humorous, multilayered plot twists, and an old-fashioned sweet romance make this book an appealing read for romance and mystery enthusiasts, who will undoubtedly want to see more work from this debut author."
"Dead Cereus by Kira Seamon is a cozy mystery with just the right touch of romance. The book starts off with incredibly upbeat energy and fast pacing that the author maintains throughout the story. The reader cannot help but be delighted by the main character, Holly, and her string of mishaps, mayhem and moments of brilliance. Creating a main character that is both relatable and also admirable is not an easy feat, but author Kira Seamon manages to do just that in her book, Dead Cereus. Supporting characters add to the flow of events and encourage dialogue that is both witty and zany. The mystery becomes apparent and really takes off a little way into the story, but it is well worth reading the setup and character introductions in the opening chapters to reach the first major plot twist.
Dead Cereus by Kira Seamon both surprised and intrigued me. The author was able to create an entire world without bogging the reader down with unnecessary details. She combined fascinating information about plants with the interesting dialog and good pacing that kept the story moving forward. The author kept the list of characters to a manageable level and cleverly tied their motives and personalities into the mishaps and murders within the story. The eventual friendship between the main character, Holly, and her arch-enemy, Ivy, toward the end of the story was a lovely touch and just one of the many reasons the reader will like the main character and cheer for her throughout each chapter. I will hope for more books that bring the characters back for another mystery."
The Prairies Book Review
Witty, thoroughly endearing, and greatly entertaining.
"Seamon weaves the magic of traditional mystery and delightful romance into an intriguing storyline, taking readers on an exhilarating journey of a young woman’s struggle to sort out her academic life while stuck in the middle of a murder investigation. Seamon takes her time setting up the story, and it’s only after a while that a major twist (Holly loses her internship to Ivy) heats up the things, and the pacing picks up. From there, the intriguing tale moves rapidly as a murder and an attempted kidnapping throw Holly into the middle of a dark web of long-buried secrets and sinister motives. Seamon’s engaging narrative places readers right in the middle of a quirky landscape that’s awash with vibrant academic life and cozy warmth of individual connections. The mystery of the professor’s bizarre murder is at the dark heart of an unfolding human drama that will leave readers reeling, and the plot is layered and nuanced. Holly, with all her obvious faults remains a solidly engaging character. William is an absolute darling. The plot is tight and propulsive and the finale hearteningly satisfying. While the prose gets choppy at times, Seamon is a master at creating atmospheric settings, and cozy mystery lovers will find it easy to fall under her spell. An appealing, witty heroine, a gem of a leading man, and well-constructed setting and plot make this one a must-read for both mystery lovers and fans of chick-lit literature. Readers will look forward to more of Holly and William’s adventures."
Literary Titan Four Star Review
Holly Jackson, a scholarship student at Shellesby College, has been entrusted with organizing the Night Lights Ball, which will include a number of renowned botanists as well as donors to the college’s greenhouses. Amidst the father-daughter Berkeley duo, inclined to throw out Holly any chance, at this night ball event Holly must not only save the last thread of her scholarship from snagging but also secure an internship at Boston Botanical Garden. But will she succeed in evading her tendency to attract trouble this time? Or is she to witness a murder right in front of her eyes, but also to act to prevent another one from occurring?
The author Kira Seamon, who grew up in a greenery infused home in Hawaii, colored the setting of her novel Dead Cereus with diverse greenhouses, an idea she got while visiting Wellesley College in Boston. The enchanting description she gives of botany in her novel seems as natural and explicit as if written while seated in the same place.
Throughout the mystery thriller, the characters reflect human feelings in different ways and emerge as unpredictable at times. There are many delightful botany puns within the witty conversations between William, the admired and brilliant young botanist, and Holly, the impulsive and powerful woman which greatly contributes to the romance thriller. The story turns out to show a significant social transformation in Ivy Berkeley, who transitions from being a stuck cocoon set up by her father and societal norms into a freed butterfly with full wings for flight.
The action-packed story and descriptions of college greenhouse residents, as well as the fresh foods straight from the greenery surrounding the campus do not let the limited setting of the book, in and around the college campus, get in the way. Throughout this enchanting story, readers will enjoy the puns used by the botanists, especially in naming their pets and loved ones.
In a disturbing scene, the author describes a murder which takes place in a greenhouse. The murder, exposed amid the beauty of botany around, gives an upsetting picture, which is both surprising and unusual. By describing the various plants and flowers species in the novel, the author reveals and emphasizes the danger and magnificence of botany while setting the plot in the middle of it. Besides the beautiful illustration of the Cereus flower blooming, there is also a warning of possible fatal damage of plant species.
If you are seeking a humorous romance thriller, or cozy mystery novel, Dead Cereus will herb your enthusiasm with its ardent characters and thrilling plot.
The Book Commentary Five Star Review
Securing a scholarship, defeating a rival, and catching a murderer in a single night is definitely impossible, but Holly Jackson is determined to do it all in the thrilling adventure in Dead Cereus. Mischievous Holly Jackson is excited to be there at Shellesby College’s Night Lights Gala to attain her scholarship and watch the rare night-blooming plant cereus open its petals. She has an arch-nemesis, Ivy Berkeley, and she is determined to beat her, but things take a drastic turn when something highly disturbing occurs on the most awaited night. Holly’s enthusiasm and excitement turn sour when she witnesses the murder of a guest right before her very eyes. Nevertheless, Holly is a determined and brave young woman who resolves to find the killer to win the scholarship at any cost. Together with the help of her loyal grad student boyfriend, William, she must befriend her rival to find the killer and save her scholarship. But will Holly be able to save her life, the life of her rival, win the scholarship, and catch the murderer all in one night?
Dead Cereus by Kira Seamon is a highly thrilling tale following the disaster-prone protagonist, Holly, who is an absolute dear even though she has a dreadful ability to wreak havoc. Seamon is a debut writer with a brilliant talent for creating a captivating narrative wins readers with its witticism, nuanced characters, and cunning plot. The prose is gorgeous and the narrative voice is strong. In Dead Cereus, readers will follow Holly into an exciting night of adventure and intrigue as she and William, an admirable and caring young botanist, look for the killer on campus grounds.
Kira Seamon writes interesting details into the narrative, bringing life into the story with botanical details and creating characters that are not only sophisticated but unforgettable. The plot is twisty, opening with a strong premise and propelled forward by the author’s deft handling of intrigue and suspense. The inner world of the characters is expertly explored, especially that of the female protagonist, a world brimming with internal conflict. The narrative is filled with manic energy and it never lacks the humor that keeps readers going through the story from one focused scene to the next. Dead Cereus is satisfyingly terrifying, laced with adventure, and haunting in an intoxicating kind of way. The author introduces a protagonist that readers will adore and a daring assignment that keeps them alert as they watch to see how it all ends.
Reviewed by FRANKLIN BAUER Review Date: January 8, 2022 Category: Young Adult - Mystery
Midwest Book Review
Cozy mystery readers who look for more than a light dose of humor that permeates unexpected conundrums will relish the tone and style of Dead Cereus, which packs a punch with puns, perplexing situations, and plants. The rare night-blooming cereus plant will blossom at a gala planned to celebrate its opening, but audiences attracted to the spectacle include a clever killer who challenges Holly's life. Her scholarship at Shellesby College is on the line, but blows to her reputation and life goals set her adrift as her plot to become Professor Ogletree's intern goes awry.
She joins forces with William Smith, a sexy master gardener who takes care of all the rare plants and woos her with meals, plants, and passion, but the elusive killer keeps them guessing as the threats mount. As romance, amazing food, and deadly struggles ensue, readers will find Kira Seamon's sense of humor spices events to create a spunky, determined, beautiful, amazing character whose close encounters are vividly depicted. The result is a story that excels in the unexpected, from the twists and turns Holly takes in pursuit of her different goals to the plant- and food-driven plot which embraces gardening and romance alike.
Readers who like passion, plants, and love stories are in for a treat with a cozy mystery that is both hilarious and heartwarming. Dead Cereus is also highly recommended for any library interested in a cozy story that operates beyond the usual small-town depictions.