Thursday, October 4, 2018

Lover Come Hack (A Madison Night Mystery #6)

Author:  Diane Vallere
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781635114171; 9781635114140
Henery Press Publishing
244 Pages
$24.96; $15.38; $6.99 Amazon
October 30, 3018


After a falling out with a friend flips interior decorator Madison Night's world inside out, she's determined to revamp her life.  Jane Strong, fellow mid-century modern enthusiast, encourages Madison's entry in an upcoming design competition, but their rift makes collaboration no longer an option.

When Jane is found dead, Madison tops the suspect list.  And when anonymous computer hackings interfere with both the investigation and the competition, Jane's murder no longer seems random.

With a mess of a love life, an angry client, and a looming deadline on her contest entry, Madison turns to an unlikely ally to decode a motive before a crash becomes imminent.


Madison Night is an interior decorator who owns Mad for Mod in Dallas, Texas.  She's getting ready to enter the VIP (Very Important Projects) competition for DIDI along with her friend Jane Strong.  But the morning they're due to submit their proposal, she receives a devastating email from Jane that tells her she's not as good as she thinks she is, and that the collaboration is off.  She tries to talk to Jane, but she won't speak with her.

So Madison races against time to submit a new proposal on her own - which means she'll have to spend several hours putting something together, and then find a building on her own (Jane owns the one they were going to use) to renovate.  In a hurry, she asks the security guard to sign her out of the building while she rushes to meet the deadline.  Later that day in the same building she uses the restroom and finds Jane in another stall, obviously sick.  Eventually finding help, it appears that it is too late for Jane and she passed away before the paramedics arrive.

Stunned, Madison returns home wondering how this could have happened.  But she hasn't got time to think about it, she needs to continue on with her project; yet when she tries to use her computer she discovers she's been hacked and when her assistant Effie can't fix the problem she calls the only person she knows who can - Donna Nast, a sort-of nemesis who used to date police captain Tex Allen.

Which brings us to the fact that Madison is soon turning 50, and torn between the two men in her life - contractor Hudson James and Tex.  She's asked both of them for six months of a man-free love life so that she can make up her mind which one she's interested in, and they've (reluctantly) agreed.

But soon it also becomes apparent that unexplained events take place, and it puts Madison front and center in the Main Suspect arena, and the lead detective on the case is singling her out for murder.  Can Madison find a building?  Will she make a decision between Hudson and Tex?  Is Donna helping her or hindering her?  And can Madison outwit a killer before she's either wrongfully convicted?  Or will she wind up just like Jane, out of the competition...and life itself?

I absolutely loved this book.  So much so I read it in one sitting.  Madison is a smart, independent woman who knows what she wants (except maybe when it comes to her love life) and can think on her feet in a crisis.  I love a protagonist who isn't pushy, invasive, nor idiotic enough to do stupid things.  Madison is a wonderful character.

While she's trying to figure out how to win the contest, she's bothered by Jane's death and soon becomes suspicious when she finds out not only her computer was hacked, but nearly everyone connected with the VIP contest.  Stranger still, the police department computers were hacked, and they're not even in the contest.  Watching Madison try and figure out what is happening and why is intriguing, and it makes for quite a fascinating tale.  (It helps that my husband is a computer specialist so I could follow the story quite easily).

The plot is well-written, the story delightful.  the author's descriptions of place are charming; and her characterizations of the people involved are believable and vibrant.  She has given us a narrative that is both complicated and full of suspense; it was indeed a pleasure to read.  When the killer is found out, it gives a sense of satisfaction; we can see the 'wheels turning' in Madison's head as she is putting everything together, and once again, this is not a woman that one should ever underestimate.

The motive for the murders was convincing; the ending amusing; and I can't think of a better way to have spent my evening than in reading this book.  It was worth every minute and I look forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended.


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