RogerBW's Blog

Lucky Penny, Ellie Ashe 16 August 2022

2015 action/mystery, third and last in the Miranda Vaughn series. Miranda's asked to help with an audit at a resort, complicated by a film production and an FBI operation led by her potential boyfriend…

One of the difficult things to do well in a romance story that runs from meeting to getting-together is to stretch it out to book length. If they are eventually going to be right for each other, why aren't they right for each other now? There are various means of doing this, such as the Big Misunderstanding or the Not Quite Ex Yet, but Ashe comes up with something new: he's just been too busy with work to jump her bones. I am not entirely convinced.

It doesn't help that the villain makes themselves very obvious, if not quite at first appearance at least at second. This whole series tends to be very "light" mystery anyway, but here it's really just a scaffolding on which to hang the romance story and, what I now realise is some of the point of these books, the depictions of expensive lifestyles presumably out of financial reach of the target market.

And then we get plain old farce, as Miranda and her beau Jake go undercover and have to pretend to be married to other people (in each case the one the other thinks is their rival), but it's so carefully scrubbed of all tension that it feels both artificial and very light. There's never a moment of doubt of a happy ending, never any sense of peril, even when Miranda's taken hostage by the villain.

If I'd stopped with this series after the first book I don't think I'd have missed much. There's a later spinoff novella dealing with a side character, but I'm really not enthused.

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Previous in series: Dropping the Dime | Series: Miranda Vaughn

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