Stilettos and Scoundrels pulled me in with it's fun title and equally enticing cover. After reading the blurb (which you will find below) I knew I had to check it out. Laina weaves a splendid tale of a small town girl returning home to find that the statuses of long ago high school chums have changed dramatically as adults. There is the former hunk who is not so hunk, and the bad boy turned cop. In fact technically there are two of those I suppose.
She created and excellent balance between two genres, chick lit and mystery. The almost obsessive like mention of name brands especially in shoes will appeal to the chick lit readers and the murder mystery provides just the right balance to keep the story moving at a great pace. The characters for me were realistic, flawed and completely engaging each with their own secret agenda that only added to the plot line. This is a great summer read by the pool, at the beach or hiding in doors.
Presley Thurman, a sassy, thirty-something red-head, was looking to reinvent herself. She didn't allow the fact she was recently fired to bother her - she was ready to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. Presley is a lover of shopping and Starbucks, and even though she sometimes had bad taste in men, she always had great taste in clothes. Not looking back on corporate America, Presley decided to follow her dream. With her feisty nature and a spirit to not "sweat the small stuff," she was ready to tackle any challenge (even if she had no idea how she would pay the bills). When her friend Trevor offered her a job with his online magazine to interview public figures, she jumped at the chance. However, the new job turned into something unexpected when the U.S. Senator she was slated to write about was murdered - in her home town! Presley was excited - she hadn't seen so much buzz since the spring sample sale at Saks. She was ready for this adventure, even if it didn't seem to fit neatly into her life. She couldn't pass up the opportunity to be in the middle of the buzz. Presley was determined (not to mention curious) to find the killer and write her story. After all, she couldn't afford her shoe habit without a job and she was certainly not one to shy away from danger. The only thing standing in her way was an old high school fling, Cooper Sands, head of the Senator's security. He was not actually standing in her way, but because of his good looks, he was the biggest distraction and one she was having the hardest time overcoming. Cooper felt it was too dangerous for Presley to look for a killer and tried to distract her with reliving the past; which Presley found more dangerous than any killer. While she attempted to resist Cooper's good looks and charm, Presley was able to discover the Senator's wife, Helen, had been having an affair... with her best friend's boyfriend! Did Helen kill the Senator? Or was it the Senator's love of gambling that got him killed? And what was Cooper's secret tie to the mob boss Garrison Palazzo? Presley was betting her favorite pair of Manolo's she will find the killer... but will time run out!