This is the fourth in the Finley Anderson Tanner (F.A.T.) mystery series, but the first I’ve read. And I should add that it’s the last I’ll read. I like Chick Lit and I like mysteries, but the combination didn’t work for me here, probably because the mystery was practically invisible and the Chick Lit featured an overwhelming amount of product placement and name brands.
This is another of those books where our heroine is torn between two men. Finley lusts for Tony (her new boss at the law firm) and bad boy Liam. Tony and Liam couldn’t be more different. Liam, a private investigator, is rumpled and scruffy. Tony is strictly GQ. Tony seems to be relationship-free, while Liam has far too much contact with his ex-wife.
Early on Finley thinks Tony is asking her out on a date. Despite financial difficulties, Finley drops a ton of money buying a new outfit for the date. When she arrives at his home she discovers that she’s expected to babysit his 13-year old daughter Izzy, while Tony goes off with a gorgeous woman. I liked Finley’s interactions with Izzy; they’re the best parts of the book for me. I also grew to like Tony. Liam I could do without; I couldn’t figure out what his motivations were.
The main focus of the book seems to be to let the reader know what Finley’s wearing, what bag she’s carrying, whether her shoes hurt or not, and just how high the heels are. Oh, and she has a lot of drinks and meals with her friends. As for the “mystery” part of the book, I wouldn’t even call it that if it weren’t billed as a mystery series.
The book does excel at the type of product placement and brand-name dropping that gave a lot of early Chick Lit a bad name. Here’s a typical set of sentences: “My solution was a Donna Ricco peplum dress, purchased at a deep discount because of a tear at the peplum. I paired it with my Michael Kors Cassie wedges and switched handbags to my Coach hobo bag.”
I was a bit confused about Finley’s financial situation. She has a huge trust fund, but her mother has taken away her access to it. Finley has become a whiz at bargain shopping online and in outlets, but she still seems to spend a lot of money on clothes and on remodeling her ocean front home.
The book needs editing. There are some whopping inconsistencies that took me out of the story. And Finley’s mother is almost unbelievable in her treatment of Finley. No matter what Finley does, her mother criticizes her. It made me question why Finley would even talk to her mother.
I would have given this an even lower grade, but was somewhat interested in the mystery plot once it appeared in about the last 15% of the book. But that’s a long time to wait for a plot. Because I haven’t read the previous three entries, I don’t know what they’re like. Perhaps this is just the mix of clothes and shoes that fans of the series want. For me, if a series is a mystery, I expect more plot.