In her debut novel, The Lion’s Den, Katherine St. John gives us a glimpse into the true meaning of the old adage, “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” And, if you can do that while on a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean, all the better!

Belle is more than ready for a vacation. A struggling actress and sometimes-waitress in L.A., she’s definitely not above accepting an invite from her best friend to experience the South of France on a yacht owned by Summer’s new boyfriend. In fact, it’s perfect timing. If only she didn’t have the sneaking suspicion that something isn’t right. And she’s not alone. As Belle and an interesting cast of characters set off on their Mediterranean cruise, it becomes increasingly clear the trip isn’t just a vacation and that, maybe, she doesn’t know her best friend as well as she thought. 

A good mystery keeps you guessing with an enticing plot and convincing characters and, St. John delivers that and much more in The Lion’s Den. She sets the stage from the onset, letting you sink into the present action before taking you deeper into the relationship between Belle and Summer. By the time the characters touch down in Italy and the yacht sets sail, you’ll be itching to learn more about these two frenemies, which is why it’s oh-so-satisfying when St. John delivers just that. The chapters relating to the history between Belle and Summer are so addicting! More than once, I had to resist the urge to skip ahead, even though there were plenty of reasons to stay the course. Among them, the questionable business ethics of Summer’s beau and her motivation for inviting Belle on the trip of a lifetime. 

I love the way St. John peppers her scenes with clues, guiding me through the many plot twists and turns without revealing her hand until the absolute right moment. She doesn’t try to fool you, but rather takes you along for the ride, ensuring that you understand the characters and their motivations in a way that makes them truly believable. As the story unravels, you’ll start to wonder just how reliable a narrator Belle is, while still trusting her to take you on her journey. It’s a delicate balance and one the author handles with care. The many twists and turns were more than enough to keep this sometimes-reluctant mystery reader turning pages, as was the hint of romance that always keeps me coming back for more.

This is the guilty pleasure you won’t feel the least bit guilty about. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the beach or on your deck with a glass of wine and a snack, this delicious slow-burn mystery is the very best escape.

Buy this book!

Katherine St. John is a native of Mississippi and a graduate of the University of Southern California. Over the years, Katherine has worked as an actress, screenwriter, director, photographer, producer, singer-songwriter, legal assistant, bartender-waitress, yoga instructor, real estate agent and travel coordinator … but finds she likes writing novels best. Katherine currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.