Series: Dreamspun Desires 70
Author: Susan Laine
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: Novel (240 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (20 Nov 2018)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖 3 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: This review is going to be a hard for me. In all honesty I wanted to enjoy this story way more than I actually did. Mostly because I love Susan Laine’s writing and she has quite recently become one of my automatic reads. But also, because I liked the look of a dark and gritty and mystery, then add in the fact that the cover model kind of reminds me of Sam Heughan from Outlander.
So just to get this part out of the way: 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.
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.
I think for me the main problem was that I was unable strongly connect to both the main characters. I liked them both in terms of their personality and they were certainly well developed with a definite spark between them that makes the romance natural. However, for reasons unknown all I can say is that this wasn’t quite my cup of tea.