by LynDee Walker
Book 6 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller
When Nichelle Clarke is invited to be the maid of honor in her friends' Virginia vineyard wedding, she looks forward to the celebration. The storybook ceremony has been planned to the tiniest detail, and the rehearsal dinner is going off without a hitch.
Until a dead body is found in a barrel of award-winning Riesling.
But when the dust settles, the corpse is no longer Nichelle's biggest worry. There is a growing list of evidence pointing to her friend the groom as the killer. Nichelle doesn't buy it, but finds herself the lone skeptic.
Wading through skeletons of past love and loss, Nichelle sets out to prove the groom's innocence. But the journey forces her to face hard truths about how well she really knows her closest friends.
Can Nichelle track down the truth in time to save her friend from life in prison--or worse? Assuming he is innocent, who is the real killer? And more importantly, will they strike again?
I'm having a hard time deciding how to feel about this book. On the one hand, this was an exciting, fast-paced read where the action just keeps the story moving forward. On the other hand, you once again get Nichelle spending a lot of her time racing against the clock, the upper administration, her rivals, and now other mysterious higher powers, to find the truth in a murder mystery. And once again, law enforcement is conveniently absent with no power to do any true investigating.
While I love that Nichelle is such a strong, resourceful heroine, I'm also exhausted after reading this book (and not only because I kept at it when I probably should have been sleeping). There was SO MUCH going on in this book, and so much going on in Nichelle's life already, that I'm frankly kind of getting tired of the constant upward battle that she's facing off with with her weasel-y publisher. And while I understand that the rivalries are fierce and probably necessary between her and other ambitious reporters, sometimes the battles get a little too catty for my liking... and maybe too repetitive.
BUT, on the other hand, I really DID enjoy the mystery in this book; sans all the office drama, I think I would have really loved all the action, the investigation, and all the strange twists that were thrown in. I also loved that Nichelle and Kyle could team up and investigate the case together without romance or hurt feelings getting in the way--they DO make a pretty good team.
Unfortunately, speaking of the romance, I'm STILL not feeling Joey, the mysterious mafia love interest, now serious significant other. I just don't see enough of him and don't know enough of him to care about this love story. It's been six books into the series, and Joey is really taking the tall, dark, mysterious, and handsome love interest trope to a new level. At some point, I feel like we need to start getting to know Joey more if I'm to believe that Nichelle and Joey are having a serious relationship outside of physical attraction. And because of that, I'm actually warming up to Kyle a little bit more... even if I still like Nichelle's co-worker Grant Parker more.
At least we get to see Kyle on a more personal level and we're getting to know him better with each book. His cockiness is also starting to grow on me, even if his over-protective streak is a bit tiring.
Apparently I'm hard to please.
As far as the series itself goes, I'm still very much enjoying it, so I'll definitely continue reading, even if I'm not planning on jumping into the very next book right away.
Square: The Stay-cation 6 | Read a book set in your home town, state, or country, or that you checked out of your local library, or that has been on your (physical) bookshelves since last summer.
How it fits: This book takes place in my home country (U.S.A.)
Page Count: 372