I had a rousing good time with the first book in this series and was eager for a new adventure with this pair of intrepid besties as they begin their private eye business. This isn’t their first rodeo, but mayhem seems to be their stock in trade and it was fun being along as they work their cases, deal with protective menfolk and take a trip back into Harley’s past.
Though this is book two in the Linda & Lynda Detective Agency series, it could be read out of order in a pinch. Personally, I think it’s best to go back to the beginning so you don’t miss out of the hijinks and hilarity of this fun-loving pair of sleuths from the beginning.
The story opens with Addie and Harley bored to tears as they wait for their first case. They’ve earned the shiny new PI licenses and have the spiffy new office, but the phone is silent. Worse, Addie is in a sweat to prove herself to Jake, her police detective boyfriend that she’s not a one case wonder and that she can take care of herself.
Their first case is one for the ages, but the over the top grand finale has results they never imagined. Addie is left with a broken heart and a strong desire to get out of the city. Poor Harley never wanted to go back to her hometown again, but for Addison’s sake, she responds to her drunken dad’s plea for help with the stolen jewelry at the retirement home.
A reunion with a mean girl, avoiding Harley’s dad and his idea of her would-be fiancé, a hunky cowboy to distract Addie from her woes, a dare and challenge for a dangerous rodeo event, cantankerous old women who make lousy witnesses, and more keep Addison and Harley busy in the country. Something fishy is going on and they aim to get to the bottom of it. In the end, maybe the gals can win more than a rodeo prize.
I had a good time with this latest installment. It was fun and quirky and there was heart as the story blended comedy, mystery, and a touch of romance. The friendship factor again was the biggest seller for me. I adore their loyal, quirky, and deep relationship. Seeing them go through boyfriend woes and rookie PI adventures were nice elements. The mystery seemed cut and dry, but that bit of a twist was a nice touch. I am a romantic at heart so I enjoy when its an element in a story, but I have to say that it was actually not a strong factor in the story for me.
The characters serve as the colorful centerpiece. This one split focus between several things for the two main characters. Both are eager to prove themselves as new private investigators, but beyond that are Addison dealing with a broken heart and Harley the encounter with her disappointing past.
Addison comes across as strong, confident and sure, but she is also vulnerable and in need of support and approval from Jake. I felt badly for Addison when Jake called it quits. She is a sweetie at heart and is so vulnerable putting her heart on the line for the first time after all the strike outs with guys after her money or her looks. Jake likes her for her and not anything else. But I couldn’t completely hate Jake for what he did. I actually understood what happened there even if Addie gets ruffled when Jake nearly has heart failure as she rush straight at danger and isn’t as cautious as she could be (even her best bud cautioned her that her plan wasn’t a good idea). The tone of these stories is light and madcap, but my brain did go there with Addison’s detecting work on that first case. I’m really thinking that discharging a weapon toward an unarmed perp in his home after playing seductress games just might get the PI in the jail cell right beside her subject and possibly the spanking new PI license revoked (or maybe not, but it was definitely unorthodox and rather lucky to say the least). So yeah, Jake’s reaction made some sense to me.
As to the situation of Harley coming home and forced to deal with the demons of her past, this was a nice extra layer to the plot. Getting Harley’s backstory by the reunion with her hometown and its residents was great. I was sad for her growing up with an alcoholic and her struggles loving and loathing at the same time. She worked hard to make something of herself which meant she had to leave all she knew behind and strike out into the unknown where again, she had it rough with the class issues at that elite private school. It made me happier than ever that she has Addison’s friendship and Asher’s love. Her need to do for herself and be independent make much more sense now.
I think my favorite scenes were the visits to the retirement home. Harley’s gran and the other old gals were a hoot. Though maybe that confrontation scene between Addison and Jake ran these a close second.
Overall, this one was fun as it took the ladies to the small country town for some investigation and rodeo. The barrel jumping event was a new one on me, but it sounded pretty exciting. They have a way of getting there in the end no matter what and they do it together. Cozy mystery lovers and those who enjoy light romantic suspense should definitely give this book/series a look-see.
My thanks to the authors for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #253 RS