Next Stop, Paradise
Sue Civil-Brown is another new author to me. I hadn’t read any of her books either under this name or under Rachel Lee, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by Next Stop, Paradise.
This book is the sequel to Letting Loose, among others – it’s the fourth in a series. It takes place in the same offbeat Florida town of Paradise Beach, a place chock full of kooky characters and meddling aunts. There’s a new situation brewing. Some strange, extremely large animal tracks have shown up on the beach, and no one can tell what they are. And then a huge egg appears mysteriously. Police chief Corrigan has his hands full with his pregnant wife, so he sends Officer Samantha Barlett out to take care of it. Her mission: to keep the mayor from freaking out, to prevent a citywide panic, and to deal with nosy TV journalist Derek Diche who has just happened upon this mystery while on vacation.
Samantha finds Derek very attractive in a smarmy sort of way. She’s seen all of his mystery exposés on TV and didn’t like them, but that doesn’t make his face any uglier or his physique any less impressive. But since he’s Johnny-on-the-spot with this egg phenomenon, he’s suddenly a real pain in the butt. He and his camera crew are on the beach 24/7 ready to film any new developments. Still, he doesn’t try to incite a riot, and he doesn’t seem to want to portray Paradise Beach as Idiot Central, and there’s that annoying way that he has of looking out for her….
Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all.
Samantha’s opinion notwithstanding, I liked Derek right away. He was a big reason I enjoyed this book. He was hunky, sure, but in a very self-deprecating type way. He didn’t act like a big TV star. I also liked Sam. She was competent and interesting and her banter with Derek was quite entertaining. Their relationship developed very quickly, which is always kind of a negative for me since I usually like to see things progress at a slower rate. But it was obvious from that start that they would be good for each other once Sam got her prejudices about TV personalities and handsome men out of the way.
The only real problem I had with this book is that the big mystery of the egg sort of peters out. Samantha and Derek spend most of the book tramping out the beach and looking at what’s happening with the egg. Probably half the time they spend bantering and interacting with each other is spent in the company of the egg. So I expected a bang resolution, and it never came.
Nevertheless, I would recommend Next Stop, Paradise to anyone looking for a light, fun read. I brought it on vacation with me and read it with my face tilted up to the sun and my feet in the sand. It was a very nice way to spend a day.