Pros: All the guys are pretty cool - I love that Coop wears glasses.
Cons: Carlotta is an idiot, sort of a weird murder plot.
The Bottom Line: Ignore the blurb on the back about Carlotta having to choose from three guys. She doesn't (not yet anyway). Here's hoping she gets smarter as the books continue.
When I was in graduate school at Seton Hill University, we often had editors, agents, and of course, authors come in to talk to us (it was a creative writing sort of program). One year the author was Stephanie Bond and she dished out her first book to everyone (with the option of buying the second two). I don't buy books unless I really, really want them and love them, so I passed at the time. And (Stephanie if you ever read this...sorry) I'm glad I didn't.
Initially I thought Body Movers would be in the realm of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series - a fun mystery romp that includes both a body and a barrel of laughs. Mmm...not really. If you're going for laughs, go for Evanovich instead. If you're going for mystery and romance, well I can't say yet because while we do have three guys, thusfar our main girl Carlotta is totally hung up on her former beau. But let's start at the start.
Ten years ago Carlotta's father was busted for investment fraud. He insisted he was innocent, but instead of sticking around, he and his wife split - and left Carlotta and her 9-yr old brother Wesley behind. Now it's the present where Carlotta is nearly 30 and Wesley is 19. Carlotta is stuck working retail while Wesley gets into trouble (gambling, loan sharks, and now hacking into the city's computer database). They're in debt up to their ears, and thanks to Wesley's hacking, the DA thinks now might be the time to reopen her father's case and sticks Detective Jack Terry on her like glue. As if that weren't enough, the wife of Peter, Carlotta's former fiancé, shows up dead and it looks a lot like Carlotta and Peter were in it together...
There's actually a lot going on in this book. Almost too much at times, it seems. The actual murder plot seemed like the weakest link in the whole book. Instead you're busy elsewhere following Wesley around as he makes bad decisions, and Carlotta while she frets over money and dealing with Peter's advances, Detective Terry's snooping around, and the fact that Coop digs on her. Coop being Cooper Craft, Wesley's boss in the body moving business. Oh, didn't I mention that? Wesley has to get a job and somehow winds up with Coop picking up bodies from crime scenes and nursing homes and such. Like I said, a lot going on.
It's doable because I finished the book, but I have to say, I almost didn't. On page 55 I found myself so disgusted with Carlotta's idiocy that I decided if things didn't change or get more interesting within the next 20 pages, I was going to put the book down and move on to something else. And I have to add that this does NOT happen often. I usually muscle through a book even when it's slow or bugging me, but seriously. Carlotta was way, way too dumb. Good example? They have bills stacked up to their ears and loan sharks coming over and harassing them, but when Carlotta takes a bunch of designer clothes to sell at a store, instead of doing so (which would have netted her thousands of dollars), she just pretends like she's donating them. Why? To safe face in front of her former high school friends. Seriously? Seriously? You have beefy dudes coming over to smack you or your brother around for money and you're skipping out on a ton of money just so you don't look poor in front of these people? I wanted to scream and throw the book across the room.
And this isn't the first time money slips through her fingers or she makes totally stupid decisions. Such as she refuses to sell her Miata even though it's broken down or she still buys clothes from Neiman Marcus where she works. Hey, she has an employee discount, right? So that cute $795 dress might only be $675.75. Cripes. And what's with her obsession within finding the killer? Her motivation seemed either ridiculous or really messed up. Wesley makes dumb decisions too, but I'm more willing to forgive him for a few reasons 1.) he's had Carlotta as a parent and 2.) he's 19 and let's face it, 19-yr old boys don't always make bright decisions. I kept waiting for Carlotta to go ballistic on him and tell him all the things he needs to hear, but of course she never does.
In short, there are just a whole slew of things that drive me nuts in this book. So is there anything to like (seeing as I obviously made it past the next 20 pages to finish the thing)? The men. I really did enjoy the guys. Peter really does come off as totally bummed he broke up with Carlotta and truly wants her back. He's kind of like a Prince Charming in a way, or at least reminds me of one. Detective Terry is, well, a cop, so he's automatically cool. Coop's a sweetheart and I love, love, love the fact that he wears glasses and is a cutie. Why? Because I don't think I've ever come across any romantic interest that wears glasses in a book. Yay Coop.
All the subplots are enough to actually poke me into reading the next book. Reasons why I might go through this again?
1.) I really hope Carlotta gets less stupid 2.) I hope Wesley learns his lesson(s) 3.) Carlotta really needs to hook up with someone 4.) I'm curious about the whole deal with their parents.
P.S. This book barely made it to the three stars level. In my mind, it's actually around a 2.5 rating.