No disclaimer for this book. I bought it fair and square. Now, on to the review.
A Kiss for Luck, book one in the Art of Lying series, introduces us to Connie Munro. She’s your average office employee longing for a better life, a life of adventure, all while shopping at thrift stores and trying to make ends meet. An inheritance from her aunt changes everything. Connie sets off for Italy to take care of her aunt’s estate and gets tangled up with Jules Brand, con artiste extraordinaire. This chance encounter takes Connie on a whirlwind adventure better than she could have ever imagined.
McLaren has studied the thriller and suspense genre. I think this is what makes this naïve main character believable in her newfound role as a con artist. And, even though each next thing that happens seems crazier than the last, it still all flows and works together well. All of that understanding of the nuances of writing this crime thriller/suspense genre shines through to me.
I also loved Jules Brand. Not only does he have this nebulous identity, he also shows this fluid set of morals and beliefs that get a run for their money with this book. The fact that his sexual preferences, something McLaren works in well and flows naturally in the book, are almost as hazy as his morals is the perfect touch. This simple fact is portrayed well and allows for this marginalized group to see the representation. And, even though Jules may not always be the most honorable man, he isn’t a “bad guy”, which makes it even cooler.
I must mention McLaren’s sense of timing and pacing in the book. It kept me drawn in and wanting to read more. Yet I also had time to digest the action without being overwhelmed by it. This is a balance that is not always so easy to achieve, but McLaren has done well here.
Personally, I would love to have seen a little more of Rhys Cooper. He’s Jules Brand’s partner but is so much more. I’m not surprise at his ending (no I won’t spoil it by saying anything else), but I hope he comes back again in the series. Rhys Cooper was such an interesting character and, to me, his story hasn’t been told in its entirety yet.
Now, this last critique is me being fussy and nitpicky. Something about the layout bugged me a little. Overall, it was a clean, crisp format in the pages. I think part of it, though, is that the book is a sans serif font. On the computer screen I’m good with it, but something just didn’t feel quite right in the print edition of the book. Like I said, I’m being fussy and picky here. This is not enough for me to dwell on it. Plus, what does that tell you about the rest of the book that I’m hitting on this as a critique?
A Kiss for Luck is a fast-paced crime thriller that will leave you wanting more. Go check it out now. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. This series is on my list to continue collecting.