Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and mystery, fun overall
Cons: A few niggles here or there, but nothing major
The Bottom Line:
First days are murder
In this fun author debut
Starting Over is Murder
The joy of finding an author with multiple books out already is you know you have some great reading in front of you. The bad part is finding the time to read those books. Even though I’ve had Designer Dirty Laundry for over a year, I’ve just finally made the time to read Diane Vallere’s very first novel.
Samantha Kidd has just left a job as a buyer for a prestigious store in New York City to become the trend specialist for Tradava, the department store in her home town of Ribbon, Pennsylvania. She’s even buying her childhood home from her parents, who have moved to California. She is very excited about this new chapter in her life.
However, her first day turns into a nightmare when she finds Patrick, her new boss, dead in an elevator in the store. By the time the police turn up, his body is missing. Furthermore, Tradava has no record of her working there, and her mortgage company is a little worried about the fact that she has quite the job she listed on her application. In order to prove to everyone that she isn’t crazy, Samantha has to figure out what is going on. But can she do that?
What at first looked like sub-plots turned out to be motivation for Samantha to be involved in the case, and I appreciated seeing how everything upped the stakes for her. There is plenty happening here, but at times it felt a bit like Samantha was reacting more than actually investigating. Still, the bits that needed more polish are a minor complaint since I was never bored with the proceedings. Once we reach the climax, it is completely logical.
Samantha is a wonderful main character. You can really see how she grows via what happens here. She’s got some interesting sidekicks, and in a world where she doesn’t know whom to trust, they all fall under suspicion at some point. I actually liked that since it really kept me guessing. It also helped that everyone felt fully developed, which made figuring out the mystery that much harder.
Obviously, fashion isn’t my thing. (And if you saw my wardrobe, you’d really know that.) That wasn’t a detriment to enjoying the book. I’m sure there are some things I missed as a result, but I didn’t feel like it was much, and certainly nothing that was important to the plot.
Even with the huge stakes and the fact that we are talking about murder, there’s quite a bit of humor threaded through the book. Between some of what happens and Samantha herself, you’ll be smiling if not laughing as you read this book.
So I’m glad I finally made the time to meet Samantha. If Designer Dirty Laundry is any indication, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the rest of the books in this series.
NOTE: While I am reviewing this book as part of a blog tour, I bought the book last year. As always, my opinions are my own.
This review is part of the #Samanthapalozza Blog Tour.