Pros: Minimum dumbness; interesting; I like the covers
Cons: Um, not a whole lot?
The Bottom Line: A day in the life of Carlotta Wren (I'm not sure if that would be bad or relatively good...)
If you haven't read the first four books, you pretty much need to. That's because Stephanie Bond has so many little subplots winding their way through the stories and those are the threads that you need to follow (ultimately). So as much as the first book drove me crazy, it might not have the same effect on you, so who knows? It is important to note that even though I was not jazzed by the first two books, I have now finished all 6 books Ms. Bond presently has published and intend to continue on reading books 7 and 8 (but those are currently on hold due to some potential TV series deal which I actually think could be fun). So I think that's worth noting.
This time around, well, there isn't any main mystery. This is sort of like the link between book 4 and book 6. The Charmed Killer is on the loose, Michael Lane is still missing (and crazy), and everyone seems like they want to kill Carlotta, or at least get her into serious trouble, although she does that rather well on her own. And of course Wesley has his own bundle of problems to deal with such as loan sharks and dead people.
So this book is sort of like "a day in the life of Carlotta and Wesley Wren" over several days. You get plenty of interesting tidbits about this and that, a lot of bodies to pick up, and plenty of time to try and figure out who the Charmed Killer might be. I'd read the back of book #6, so I had my false-arrest suspect all picked out (I was wrong), but still had no idea who the actual bad guy could be. Personally, I hoped it was no one we actually were familiar with (I was...well I won't tell you, hah).
In between Carlotta's Nancy Drewing, there's a whole lot of, "Should I sleep with Peter? Should I marry Peter? What about Jack? Where is Coop? Should I be with Peter? Why does Jack's partner have to be so hot? I don't know if I love Peter. I get all googly-eyed when Jack comes around. Peter makes me feel safe. So does Jack (in a different way). Maybe I should just marry Peter..." After a while some of this (mostly the bits involving the see-sawing about Peter) kind of got old. Yes, we know you're wishy-washy about your feelings with Peter and you're jealous about Jack and his hot police partner, please move the story along.
Just when you think it would be ridiculous for Carlotta not to hook up with Peter permanently (especially after her actions in the first book, geez louise!), Bond actually comes up with a few sneaky little ways to make you go, "Oooooh," and start to think that maybe Peter isn't the best choice after all. He's getting an eensy bit overprotective to the point where you think, "Dude, just give up, she's not going to listen to you." Kind of like Stephanie Plum and Morelli (although Morelli is a bit more fun, hehe...more like Jack I guess). Then there's another problem...but I won't say. It surprised me though and wouldn't have thought of it, so kudos to Bond there.
I would like to add that there's a crazy cat in this book, and I would have totally thrown it's butt into a crate and shipped it to the ASPCA the very next day. There would be no pooping in my expensive shoes thankyouverymuch (by the way Ms. Bond and all the editors - the brand is Miu Miu, not Mui Mui). Speaking of brand names, I still find it weird that Maria buys super-expensive clothing and accessories. It just doesn't seem to work that a profiler who maybe makes $50,000 would be willing to drop $235 or more on designer shoes. Maybe that's just me though.
While a lot of little things bugged me, it's a fast read (one day) and rather entertaining. I like the three guys that dig on Carlotta (Jack the cop, Coop the body mover, and Peter the charming prince), and I love Carlotta's friend Hannah and am ashamed I haven't mentioned her in previous reviews. I didn't see the end coming and the fact that things ended on such a cliffhanger pretty much guarantee that you'll read the next one to see how things pan out.