After Hamish DeLuca’s anxiety gets the better of him during his first real court case as a lawyer, he runs away to his cousin, Luca Valari. Luca was the only person who never focused on Hamish’s flaw, and treated him like everyone else.
Regina Van Buren comes from high-class society stock, but she flees when decision for her life are being made for her. She finds a job working for Luca Valari, as his secretary, and begins taking steps to be an independent woman and live on her own terms.
When a dead body is found at Luca’s new night club, The Flamingo, Hamish and Regina take it upon themselves to uncover the truth, but there are some who don’t want the truth discovered.
I can’t say that I enjoyed this one. I originally decided to read the book, because of the comparison to The Thin Man movies, which I love. Sadly, the only real comparison is that Regina and Hamish occasionally call each other Nick and Nora to boost each other’s confidence.
Let’s start with what’s good. McMillan does a great job of scene-setting and pulls the reader into the time period of 1930’s Boston. The characters are well-developed. Hamish, especially, is a breath of fresh air as a male lead with a struggle like anxiety and panic attacks.
Unfortunately, I had a lot of issues with the novel.
1) This novel is marketed as Christian fiction. While it is pretty clean reading, there is nothing decidedly Christian about it. There is no mention of faith or God in any way.
2) The murder doesn’t occur until more than halfway though the story. The first half of the novel is really just setting the tone and getting to know the characters and city.
3) The writing was sometimes hard to follow. I had to go back and re-read lines or passages several times to figure out what was being described or discussed.
4) Regina has two love interests in this novel, and I was not happy with where it was left at the end. I’m sure this will be an ongoing arc as the series continues, but with all the build-up of connection with one of the love interests, I was very disappointed with the lack of resolution, and the turn Regina took as a character.
5) Hamish and Regina kind of stumble into the truth about the murder, and solve it with little evidence or struggle. People seem to suddenly open up to them.
6) There’s an added mystery surrounding Hamish’s cousin, Luca, who has a history of bad choices and sketchy practices. This new club is supposed to be a clean start for him. He puts his office in a poorer area of the city, and no one knows why. There seems to be a connection to that part of town, and how badly the tenants are treated, to the people Luca are involved with. Hamish and Regina stumble into the answer for this as well, and there is a very climactic scene that comes from it, but it left me feeling like nothing was actually answered.
Murder mysteries are supposed to leave you feeling like you don’t know everything, but this one left me feeling like I had almost no information. I felt like I was missing vital pieces of information. Like there was something even the main characters figured out that they hadn’t let me in on. I was able to get to the end of this one, but I probably won’t be reading the next in the series.
Content Warnings: It is a murder mystery, so there is violence. A lot of scenes take place at night clubs with heavy drinking and lots of unsavory characters. Regina is also on the receiving end of some unwanted advances.
1) Overall Plot = 3
2) Characters = 4
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 3.5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 3
5) Overall Enjoyability = 2.5
Average score of 3.2 out of 5
I received an electronic copy of this book from BookLook in exchange for an honest review.