Friday, May 20, 2016

Murder and Mystery (Restless Desires #1) by Stacie Orion - #review

Follow the sordid lives of the residents of Velvet Shore as their paths collide in this quirky series filled with epic tales of romance peppered with action, comedy, and the occasional murder.

"Shoot first, ask later." That's the motto of Velvet Shore's hotshot detective, Xander Lewis. When a gruesome murder occurs in the mansion of one of the wealthiest residents in town, he and his sidekick are called in to investigate. Tactless, quick to judge, and borderline comical, he has ample opportunities to rub people the wrong way. With the list of suspects mounting and no murder weapon to be found, he's got his work cut out for him. Will he be able to solve the mystery, or will his unorthodox methods finally land him in trouble?

Meanwhile, feisty stay-at-home mom Kim Verraros can't stand her mother-in-law. Their petty feud has lasted over 20 years and she's beginning to feel like victory is out of reach. But when she gets a call from her P.I. with proof of juicy dirt on her arch nemesis, she has a tough decision to make: should she use this information to her benefit, or is family more important than personal satisfaction? Or maybe she should keep an eye on her own sordid secrets?

"Their dreams are big, and their passions run deep. Success, friendship, and love; the city offers it all. Yet for some, nothing in the world will ever satiate their restless desires..."



The beginning of my college years marked the last years of the popular soap opera, The Edge of Night.  It was different from the other popular ABC soaps of the day because episodes were 30 minutes as opposed to one hour for the other shows.

The above description of Xander Lewis is spot on.  When Sebastian, the temporarily (?) blind son of the murder victim enters the room, Lewis is overly blunt when he tells the young man that his mother has been murdered.  I believe he even started to go into detail before his less hardened junior partner redirected the conversation.

And, I suppose I expected Kim's character to be a little more sympathetic.  The intro makes her seem like a victim of her in-laws, while she is far from being without her defenses.  She even went over the line, telling the blind son of the maid that he didn't 'belong upstairs', and actually shoved him toward those stairs.  Had I been in attendance, I probably would have done something that would have me immediately 'disinvited' from the in-laws' 50th anniversary celebration.

Restless Desires is an apt name for this series.  Most of the characters have their own agenda and behind-the-scenes dealing.  The retired founder of CE enterprises mistrusts his son's handling of the corporation and enlists his grandson in, well, spying on his father.  Said grandson had recently been kicked out of yet another college (this time in Germany...I guess he burned his way through the available b-schools in the US).  The wife of the retiree hates her daughter-in-law (Kim) and the feeling is more than mutual.  Which men of the family have been enlisting more than professional services from the female members of staff?  Will Justin (the 'aimless' son) become a photographer and will he ever get a straight story from his girlfriend and supermodel Esme, whom he has seen twice in this first book/episode with other men in possibly social rather than professional encounters?

I am grateful for the 'cast list' provided at the end of the book.  It really helps if one is not already versed in the characters to have a list and short description of each one in order to keep track of who is who.  And there is a map in the 'bonus material' on the author's website of the 'big house', which is great since the story in printed form does not allow us to see the layout of things.

As with other soap operas, Restless Desires has multiple story lines, heroes, victims, villains, rich, poor and a host of other things going on.  And it has the potential to be every bit as 'addictive' as the soaps appearing on tv!  My mind even went to the 'who would be in the cast if this was on video' place...but I'm reserving judgment for after I've read a couple of episodes.

Some people may have a spot of difficulty with the book being in 'script' form.  Less detail is available about the characters' actions and visual nuances than would be there in novel form.  But (IMO) it's really just a matter of flipping a mental switch.

The guilty pleasures of the characters of Restless Desires may well become the 'guilty pleasures' of many readers.



Stacie Orion is the author of Restless Desires, a quirky soap opera book series inspired by The Young and the Restless and Passions. She enjoys plays and musicals--who doesn't love Avenue Q and Kinky Boots?--and believes that humor is the key ingredient in telling memorable stories.


(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  This post contains affiliate links.)

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