Finding Mr. Right Is Murder
by Shara Lanel, contemporary (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-439-1


Oh, this one is really too adorable for words. Fun, fun, fun from start to finish, Shara Lanel's Finding Mr. Right Is Murder has me smiling and laughing all the way.

The story is simple: Leanne Aimes decides to humor her best friend by taking part in Jenny Pogue's latest business venture, Pajama Dates. It's like a dating service, only with a difference: the participants meet up in a slumber party. Leanne is pretty certain that this venture will go the way of Jenny's previous business mishaps, since Jenny always has more money than business sense, but hey, Jenny is her best friend. Meanwhile, Gage Braxton, our PI, realizes that the drug dealer he has been after for so long, Julian Hunton, is going to be at the slumber party. (It's a long story, but Gage knows someone who knows someone who knows... you get the idea, I'm sure.) When Gage meets Leanne, sparks fly as if it's the fourth of July and someone has started a firework show. When a dead body shows up in the midst of the party, Gage and Leanne will have to work together in and out of the bedroom to get to the bottom of things.

The characters are too adorable. Really, they are. I love how Leanne knows how to party while coming off like a likable ordinary gal. So many authors tend to turn party gals into terribly dysfunctional women with issues but here, Leanne is just sensible even as she is wonderfully free from hang-ups about her looks, the members of the opposite sex, and sex itself. Gage is great too. Here is an undercover fellow who doesn't feel that he has to lie to the heroine all the way, which makes for a great absence of the usual discovery of his identity after the first sex scene and the inevitable "You don't love me, you just used me!" tears and all. Gage and Leanne have great chemistry and rapport, so I just love reading about their adventures together.

The humor works very well for me too, as I laugh out loud at various scenes in this story. The secondary characters can be stereotypes, but they are fun ones. I also enjoy how the author doesn't rush the relationship too much. The ending is just perfect as it sees the characters getting ready to know each other better after the dust has settled, without rushing too quickly into a wedding, and with the two characters feeling so right together, I can easily imagine that they will be fine together for a long time.

Simply put, Finding Mr. Right Is Murder is a most exuberant kind of enjoyable read for me and I have fun with every turn of the page. Giving this one a keeper status is one of the easiest decisions I have to make, I tell you.

Rating: 92


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