Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise

Killer Cruise is a book Sammy deserves. At the background of this series, we always had Sammy’s tumultous relationship with her mother. Without her diva Hollywood mother, none of this series would have happened. If Lana had brought Sammy to Hollywood with her, Sammy never would have lived in the Senior Highrise, met any of her fantastic friends (aside from lifelong friend Marissa) or encountered any of these mysteries. Though the series started with something difficult–Sammy abandoned by her mother–Sammy’s life evolved into something amazing.

Darren, her father, echoes this sentimate at the end of the book. Though Sammy and Darren didn’t know about each other until Showdown in Sin City, if they had known each other all along, Sammy would be a different person. And since Sammy as she is now is the perfect match for her rockstar father, it worked out in the end. Watching Sammy develop a loving, understanding relationship with one of her parents is incredible. Sammy deserves this happy resolution to a lifelong mystery. In a different series, this resolution might seem more contrived than natural, but in this series…it is perfect. Killer Cruise is the perfect, emotional Sammy Keyes book.

The Summary

A cruise is headlining Darren Cole and the Troublemakers as the talent for one of the nights of the trip. Sammy, with Marissa in tow, joins her father on the trip for some father-daughter bonding time. Though most of the book is about Sammy and Darren, Sammy, Marissa, Darren and Marko (the drummer in Darren’s group) encounter a missing person mystery involving the Kensington perfume tycoons.

The Analysis

Though shenanigans with Marissa and the Kensingtons happen throughout the book, the real focus is on Sammy and Darren bonding.

The father-daughter bonding time is emotional. So emotional, in fact, that I teared up on more than one occassion. The main scene that made me teary is the one I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Darren explains to Sammy that he could choose to be angry with Lana for depriving him of the first 14 years of Sammy’s life, but if she hadn’t, Sammy wouldn’t be the person he is getting to know now. We watch Darren and Sammy build a family, with best friends Marko and Marissa right by them. (Hmm, funny how Darren’s best friend’s name starts with “Mar-“).

Watching this development brings to light how much planning went into this series. Even if Wendelin didn’t know at the start that Sammy’s father would be a rockstar father, there had to be some inkling of this idea. It feels too right to be a spontaneous decision. Though I confessed in my previous Sammy Keyes post that I didn’t expect the series to introduce Sammy’s father, in retrospect it feels like everything built to this book.

This series beautifully wraps up every plot line and character thread in these final few books. In Killer Cruise, the development of Sammy’s father occurs. We also get some great Marissa and Sammy moments. Though their relationship experienced tension in recent books, Killer Cruise proves how solid their relationship is. While there are a few threads left for Kiss Goodbye, this one finishes the two most important ones in the series: the one with Sammy and her parental abandonment issues, and that of the longtime Sammy x Marissa friendship.

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