(Domestic Bliss Mysteries Book 1)
by Leslie Caine
Format: Paperback and ebook
Genre: Mystery - cozy?
Source: paperback swap and personal copy
Interior decorator Erin Gilbert recently relocated to picturesque Crestview, Colorado and opened an interior design business. Now, after a few months in business, she has a bitter rival named Steven Sullivan - since apparently the people who live in Crestview are literate enough to know about Gilbert and Sullivan operas but not smart enough to remember which interior designer they were hiring.
One morning finds herself conned into a 'friendly' competition with Steve - who is, of course, extremely attractive. They will each decorate one room in neighboring houses over the course of one weekend. The prize is a feature spread showcasing their design business in Denver Magazine.
It is soon clear that the neighbors are actually anything but friendly and the job much more than it first appeared.
So - I read this book when it first came out - I got a copy in a paperback swap with some friends and apparently liked it enough that I purchased the second book when it came out. I haven't paid much attention to it since, but while I was sick I saw that Amazon had his book on sale for $0.99 so I got a copy to read whilst grumpy.
Turns out that on the second reading - I was much more meh. I didn't actually like any of the characters - they all annoyed me. Erin - for example - is a special example of too stupid to live - in this case too stubborn/obsessive to live? Not quite sure how to put it, but any reasonable person would have run away screaming.
This might get a bit spoilery I suppose but no more than most of the stupid book blurbs are ...
As a single child myself I have never understood why people - generally those who have both parents and grandparents too - seem obsessed with the idea that orphans or single children need to know who their birth parents are. For most of us (yes I am generalizing, I admit) - we know perfectly well that whatever happened in the past it has nothing to do with us and we understand that finding a birth parent can turn out really, really badly - however much we might have pretended that we were actually royalty in hiding as children. Yes, for some people this becomes a quest - but for most of us that I have every talked with about this - we simply don't care.
I mention this because Erin suddenly becomes obsessed with her birth parents - despite both a deathbed promise to her mother, and the growing evidence that being related to any of the awful people in the story would stink - and this is ostensibly the reason that she hung around to finish the decorating job.
I was on-board at first but as the story went on it became harder and harder to suspend disbelief. Besides - these were generally pretty awful people - it made no sense for her to keep acting like this was a normal decorating job. Especially the bit about just having to fix the outlet covers so that they matched the wallpaper pattern - while under threat, after murder and around people who are violent. Nope - not buying it. Too stupid - too unrealistic and the author clearly has something against the police - her detectives/cops were right out of central casting for a bad movie.
Plus the characters - including the lead and her love interest - were petty, self-obsessed and often too jerky to care about.
Not my thing - and I think I must have been pretty starved for reading material to decide that I liked it the first time. Three claws - just okay.