Series: Dreamspun Desires 70
Author: Susan Laine
Narrator: John Solo
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 7 hrs, 39 mins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (2nd May 2019)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts
Blurb: Mystery. Murder. Men in silk stockings. Hollywood nights are heating up.
Hardboiled Los Angeles PI Cain Noble is hired by wealthy and gorgeous Camille Astor to find her husband and a priceless work of art, both of which have disappeared.
At the nightclub owned by Mr. Astor, Cain encounters the mesmerizing Lily Lavender, who has the body of a goddess and the sultry voice of an angel—but is really a young man named Riley who attracts trouble like a magnet.
What’s a private dick in the vein of LA’s bygone era and a cross-dressing burlesque starlet to do when faced with the hidden decadence and lethal dangers of the Hollywood Hills? They have their work cut out for them because they haven’t even scratched the surface of an elaborate scheme more twisted than anyone could ever have imagined.
Review: Femme Faux Fatale is a standalone book by Susan Laine, published as part of the Dreamspun Desires line. The narration of this story was performed by John Solo.
I’ve read the story before, I already knew what I was in for the most part, and while I did have problems connecting with the MCs when I read the book, I had started the audio with the hope that Solo’s wonderful narration would add a depth to the story that I missed while reading. In fact, I had been somewhat disappointed that I didn’t enjoy reading the book more than I had because I have enjoyed almost all of Susan Laine’s books I’ve read in the past.
In the stereotypical way that seems to be the world of a PI in literature, we start with hardened and eternally tired PI Cain Noble. He’s a PI based in LA and the city serves up a constant stream of work for him. When we meet him he gets hired by Camille Astor to find her husband and a work of art. And let’s face it, when priceless art is involved you know that there is going to be some serious shit go down. Astor’s husband, Sheridan, owns a club and that is Cain’s first port of call and despite being gay, Cain finds performer Lilly Lavender strangely alluring. Only to then find out that Lily is in fact a man named Riley who seems to get in trouble at every turn, but more than anything wants to find Sheridan who he considers a friend.
As we make our way through the LA and the story, it feels like this could almost be the stereotypical 1930s-era PI tale where the hero solves the mystery and gets romanced along the way.
While I will admit that I really do think that Solo’s narration added to the book and I found myself dragged into the plot a lot more than I recall being pulled in by reading the book, I felt that I still lacked some connection to the main characters. I’m now wondering if it is also to do with the writing style, which is a little different to Laine’s usual and again I think that goes back to the whole 1930s private dick vibe. I liked Cain and Riley in terms of their personality, they were both a bit quirky, and they were certainly well developed with a definite spark between them that makes the romance natural.
I recommend this is for people that enjoy reading a dark, gritty, urban mystery where the city seems to become a wild jungle. It seems like a good metaphor for LA at any rate and makes me think of The Doors song LA Woman.