Avon, 2004 (2004)
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Reviewed by Melissa Parcel
ll Jolie Goodman wants to do is make enough money to survive. After quitting her real estate job, she now works in the shoe department of Neiman Marcus to make ends meet. A few weeks ago, Jolie's boyfriend Gary vanished, taking her car with him. The police don't really take her missing person's report seriously, but Jolie is suspicious about the circumstances of his disappearance.
n her first day at Neiman's, Jolie crashes head-on into Beck Underwood, falling both flat on the floor and head-over-heels in love. Beck comes from an upper-class broadcasting family. He appears to have feelings for Jolie as well, but she knows he's way out of her league. Jolie meets a couple of women at work who dabble in party crashing. They
clothes and shoes from the store, disguising themselves to crash exclusive parties. Using the party crashing as an
, Jolie begins to investigate Gary's disappearance and ends up getting in over her head. She also keeps seeing Beck every time she turns around. Are the feelings she has for Beck real, or is she simply infatuated? Will Jolie find out what happened to Gary before she is targeted as well?
his is an excellent combination of romance and suspense. Down on her luck, but still full of hope and dreams, Jolie draws the reader's sympathy throughout. The supporting cast of characters are well-defined and contribute to the mystery and its solution. The romance between Jolie and Beck is sensual, progressing at a rate that builds tension and satisfies the reader's desire for a love story. The backdrop of Atlanta's elite party scene gives a unique flavor to the plot. The hijinks that Jolie and her friends get into while borrowing clothes (and still keeping them pristine enough to return), as well as what they do to avoid recognition, are all very funny.
is a fun, stand-out example of the romantic suspense genre.
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