In an effort to save her family’s farm, ex-teen TV star Summer Butler agrees to do a reality TV show in which she becomes a real life private investigator, much like her character on the hit TV sitcom Gotcha! She isn’t worried, everyone knows reality TV is fake. But what Summer doesn’t expect, is getting caught up in a real life murder investigation.
Published: January 9th, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Pages: 362 (Kindle edition)
Series: Darling Investigations #1
“How the mighty had fallen.”
Ten years ago, Summer Butler was television’s most popular teenage sleuth. Since then, she’s hit—what gossip sites just love to call—the gutter. Nearly bankrupt, betrayed, estranged from her greedy mother, and just about unemployable, she’s coaxed into that desperate haven for has-beens: reality TV.
Winging it as a faux PI, she’ll solve off-the-cuff mysteries in her hometown of Sweet Briar, Alabama. For added drama, there’s police chief Luke Montgomery, inconveniently Summer’s first and only love.
It’s when Summer stumbles upon a very real corpse that Darling Investigations takes an unexpected twist. The growing list of suspects is a big draw to viewers, but the reality is that Summer doesn’t know whom she can trust. Someone has written this killer new scene especially for her, and unless Summer gives the role everything she’s got, it could be her last…
“This wasn’t just a lame reality show. This was life and death, and I felt supremely unqualified to have any part of it.”
First of all, thank you to NetGalley and Montlake Romance for the digital ARC of this awesome book! I deeply appreciate every ARC I have the chance to read and review early!
I want to start by talking about the categories/genres I chose for this book; it’s classified by Goodreads (and the publisher) as a suspense/romance book. While I see both, I’m considering this to be more of a cozy mystery. It has all the classic elements; quirky main character with a fun job, hilarious family/sidekick, handsome love interest, cute small town, and a murder. So, since this book is more about the mystery than the romance, that’s how I’m going to classify it here.
All that confusion aside, I LOVED this book! I was laughing out loud, swooning, cringing, and scratching my head all at the same time. This book was absolutely hilarious, I couldn’t wait to read more and see what high-jinx Summer and Dixie would get into. I really enjoyed the whole premise of this book, I just knew the whole ex-teen star thing would be a super fun element and I loved the way they constantly joked at her being ‘washed up’ (including the part at the Boll Weevil parade, it had me DYING).
But don’t let the drama distract from the fact that this book was packed full of drama and suspense! Between the family drama, Summer’s mysterious hang up calls, the bitchy producer, and all the history between Summer and Luke there was a lot to unpack in this book. I feel like the book didn’t touch on all the things I was curious about (including Dixie’s past) and I hope that they get to that more in the next book, because I will definitely be reading whatever follow-up happens. The overarching mystery throughout the book was deep. There were so many twists and turns and shocking elements that I really didn’t have a clue what was going on until the last two or three chapters, when things started to seem a little fishy. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, wondering what was really going on in sweet old Sweet Briar, Alabama.
I really enjoyed the author’s writing style in this book too. She knew exactly how to write the differences in funny and suspenseful scenes and it was easy to get the tone of both, it was the perfect mix of mystery and comedy. This was another reason why this struck me as a cozy mystery. I really devoured this book, I was always finding excuses to read and get some quiet time, and I was eager to read more and more. It was just one of those books that you really enjoy reading, from start to finish.
No word yet on the second book in the series, I’ve checked both Goodreads and the author’s website/blog and haven’t seen any significant news, but I’m very eagerly awaiting book #2! Thanks again to NetGalley and Montlake Romance for providing me a copy to review!
Add Deadly Summer to your Goodreads!
Buy Deadly Summer here:
Author Information & More at denisegroverswank.com