Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: A First Date with Death (A Love or Money Mystery, Book 1) by Diana Orgain #CozyMystery


About A First Date with Death:

When brokenhearted Georgia Thornton goes looking for romance on reality TV, she has nothing to lose—apart from a good man, a cash prize, and maybe her life… 

What was Georgia thinking? Sure, some cad ditched her at the altar, but can she really find love on TV? Her best friend—and producer of the reality show Love or Money—thinks so. Ten men. Ten adventure-filled dates. What can go wrong? For starters, a faulty bungee cord that hurls Georgia’s first date into a tragic spiral off the Golden Gate Bridge.

He’s replaced by Paul Sanders, Georgia’s former fiancé. But the cop isn’t looking for a TV gig. Suspecting that the lover’s leap was no accident, Paul’s going undercover. When another bachelor gets a fatal kiss-off, the reality is that someone has killer new plans for the show—and for Georgia herself. Now, under the threat of permanent cancellation, Georgia fears that the only man on the set she can trust is the one man she just can’t count on…

Book Details:

Series: A Love or Money Mystery (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0425271684
ISBN-13: 978-0425271681

Amazon Link:

My Review:

Georgia Thornton is down on her luck.  First, her fiance leaves her at the alter; then, she loses her job on the police force; and finally, she ends up on the reality tv show Love or Money going to face-to-face with 10 men, which really isn't all that bad, if you think about it....I'm talking about the men and not the being ditched or getting fired parts.  After all, she could find love and/or make some money (since she doesn't, you know, have a job).

Everything is moving along as it should, that is, if you think finding your next romance on a tv show is the way to go.  At the taping of the very first date, however, tragedy strikes in the form of a defective bungee jumping cord.  The injured party, no longer able to compete, is replaced my none other than Georgia's estranged fiance, Paul, who just happens to be a police officer.   While trying to figure out the mystery behind the defective bungee cord another contestant is found dead.  Add in a suspicious makeup/hair stylist, fishy circumstances, and dates with a bunch of hot men and you have a wonderful book.

I was hooked from the beginning.  I started reading the book about 7:00 pm and couldn't put it down.  I finished reading it before going to bed at midnight that same evening.  The premise of A First Date with Death will be familiar to those that watch The Bachelor and/or The Bachelorette.  Actually, even if you don't watch them you'll catch on pretty quick (I don't watch either show but know enough about them to make the comparisons).  I found myself trying to identify the men there for love and those who were only in it for the money right along with Georgia.

I enjoyed the multitude of red herrings tossed around to keep the true villain under wraps.  I had no idea who the murderer was until near the end of the novel.  The novel has humor at all the right times and wit.  There are emotional scenes that occur between Paul and Georgia and her pain is so heartfelt and realistic.

The only real complaints I have are the rush at the end and the date scenes.  After building up the mystery and suspense, the quick revelation was a bit of a let down.  Some of the date descriptions were a bit wordy, too, and just seemed fluffy.  I'm hoping that the reveal is paced a bit better and the descriptions aren't overly flowery in the next book.

For the most part I found this cozy mystery novel to be entertaining.  The plot was well developed and the story was paced out well (except for the rushed ending).  Once I began A First Date with Death, I was engaged immediately and read the book in one sitting (as noted above).

I'm pretty pleased with the protagonist, Georgia.  While many may think that she was passive or not engaged enough, I found her character to be written well.  She'd lost her job, was left at the alter, and was trying to find love and help a friend by appearing on a reality show.  She wasn't bargaining on death, mayhem, and her former fiance to rear their ugly heads in the midst of taping.  Her actions and reactions were spot on with the happenings that unfolded in the book.  The bachelors all played their part well and the show "must go on" mentality was felt throughout the book.  The introduction of Paul was curious and added another level of depth to the novel.  His presence was actually good for Georgia in several ways that you'll discover as you read the book.

I anxiously await what the author has in store for Book 2.

Review copy courtesy of the author, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts and opinions in this review are my own. 

My Rating:


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