My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After all the excitement (in book one, “Hot Scheming Mess“) of her grandfather’s long-kept secret, her newly discovered ex-KGB grandmother, the improvement in her relationship with her FBI mother, and getting to know her new boyfriend, Madison Cruz needs a good day off. Grandma Nika invites Madison, her mother, and her best friend to a day at a high-end spa. Madison finishes her job at a photo shoot (dressed as a heron, no less) and not without a “Madison moment” or two, and heads to the spa, thinking of nothing but manicures, pedicures, massages, and facials. What she finds is her new boyfriend, his crazy stalker ex-girlfriend, an actor turned spa manager who was the victim of a previous “Madison moment,” and a plot for revenge that could turn deadly.
These combinations of mystery, humor, and romance are not my usual reading choice. I tend to stick to sci-fi and fantasy as a rule. But it’s always good to stretch out of your normal parameters once in a while, and see what else is out there. I picked up the first Madison Cruz mystery because I do like a good mystery and humor. Romance is not really my thing, but these are not heavy-handed in that department, and that adds to the appeal for me. I’m sure some fans who prefer more romance than mystery may be disappointed, but for me, the opposite is what makes these books appealing.
And the mystery is well done. It wasn’t easy to figure out, and had a few twists that kept it interesting. The humor is always there, sometimes bordering on slapstick, and always getting a chuckle or two. Madison often appears flighty and superficial, but underneath the pretty green eyes and dark curls, she is smart and manages to keep her head through some intense situations. The relationship between her grandmother, mother, and herself continues to have its ups and downs, but all three are strong personalities and, while the light, humorous tone is always there, the sense that this is a real family with real relationships comes through, also. I enjoyed seeing that explored more in this book.
Fans of light mysteries with a good dose of humor and some romance will find these books to be quick, fun reads, and will, like me. look forward to Madison’s next adventures.
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