Friday, May 25, 2018

Off the Books (A Novel Idea Mystery #5)

Author:  Lucy Arlington
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9780425276679
Berkley Publishing
304 Pages
$7.19; $7.99 Amazon
February 2, 2016


The Novel Idea Literary Agency has planned a wedding themed week for Inspiration Valley, celebrating not only North Carolina's best vendors but also some of the agency's most popular bridal books.  The fact that Lila can use the event to plan her own impending nuptials is just the icing on the cake.

But wedding bells turn to warning bells when Lila finds a dead man facedown in the frosting.  Soon it's discovered that the victim was connected to several Novel Idea authors, all of whom quickly become suspects in the case.  It's up to Lila and her fellow agents to find the real killer before one of their clients winds up scribbling stories from behind bars...


Lila Wilkins works for a literary agency in Illumination Valley, North Carolina.  It's her dream job, and she's happy to have it.  During a bridal expo and book fair that the agency is hosting, a handyman is murdered, and Lila is once again the person to find the body.  While many agree he wasn't a very good handyman and had reason to dislike him, how many of those people wanted to kill him?  At least one, apparently, and it's up to Lila and her friends to find the killer in order to save their expo.  But will Lila be putting herself - or her friends in danger while searching for someone who has killed before and might very well kill again?...

Well, this is the last book in the series and it's probably about time to put it out of its misery anyway.  Although I know there are people who think this series is wonderful, I'm just a person who pays attentions to details, and there are plenty of wrong ones in this book.

So Vicky the Viper loves cats but hates dogs.  She threatens to quit if they don't get rid of the King Charles spaniel, Olive.  They're not destructive dogs (but any dog can be) as they're bred to be inside pets, very loving and even lap dogs.  So why the behavior?  Is the dog fearful?  Apprehensive?  Have they taken her to a vet to see if it's a medical condition?  No!  They just give the dog away to a group of children at a home.  Dogs need to have an alpha.  Who's the alpha in a group of children that will eventually change over time?  I'm sorry, but no office manager is so good that she (or he) should be allowed to dictate to the owner of the company what to do.

While I'm not surprised her mother found a boyfriend - this is 'Happy Valley' after all, where everyone falls in love of has something else wonderful happen to them, I always thought her mother would be old and unattractive.  Why, you ask?  She drinks Jim Beam.  A lot.  Alcohol is a hepatoxin, which means it's a toxin to the cells that detoxify your body; it makes you sallow, pasty, and gives you huge pores over time - especially if you drink as much as Althea.  It dehydrates the skin and gives wrinkles.  Who would find that attractive?

So Lila still has feelings (somewhat) for Jude and Makayla calls her on it, saying Jude is a player and Sean is the best.  What does Makayla know?  She never spends time with Sean and Lila...and Sean never spends time with Lila unless he wants sex.  He can't take time in the spring to get married?  His job is so demanding he can't make his own wedding until September?  Does this sound like a man in love who wants to start a new life with someone?  Gee, honey, my job is so important but yours isn't!  We have to plan the wedding around when I can get some time off, because you can take time off any time you want!  He doesn't even love her enough to take time to pick out an engagement ring, or have her go with him.  She's so stupid she just mopes around with longing and wishes she had an engagement ring, and isn't even wondering why he never spends time with her.  He's not working 24 hours a day every single day, so what is he doing?  He's sure not spending time with her.  Maybe Jude is onto something and everyone else is just so dumb they don't see it.

But the worst thing is her son just decided to quit college - that she's paying for - and move in with his grandmother without either of them telling her, so he can work as a cook in a restaurant because he wants to be a chef.  When she finds out - by eating at the restaurant - she naturally gets mad; but then the next day is nearly over it.  I don't know about other people, but I'd be pretty angry if my kid did this, and if my mother went behind my back instead of telling him to sit down and talk it over with me.  Angry and hurt.  It would take time to get over a betrayal by your own son and mother.  It was a lousy thing to do - and Sean takes their side over Lila's.  That should tell you all you need to know.

Because of these things, I didn't find the plot interesting enough to keep my attention throughout the book (who goes to a bridal expo where they have authors selling their books anyway?  If you're getting married, you're not interested in buying books at the same time.  I imagine it's possible, but it sure seems idiotic.

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