Title: Bare Naked Lola
Series: A Lola Cruz Mystery #3
Author: Melissa Bourbon Ramirez
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: May 15th 2012
Source: A HUGE thanks to NetGalley and Entangled for the review ARC.
Going undercover is second nature for Private Investigator Lola Cruz, but she’s out of her league when the case of a murdered Royals Courtside Dancer leads her to a local nudist resort. Parading around the sidelines of Sacramento’s professional basketball scene in a barely-there cheerleading outfit is one thing—but parading around in nothing but smile? If she has any chance of hiding this from her traditional family and on-again/off-again boyfriend Jack, she’s going to have a lot more than her duct tape bra and killer dance moves to keep under wraps….
This was my first foray into the somewhat crazy world of Lola Cruz, and I have to say I rather enjoyed. I’d even go as far as to say that I wouldn’t mind meeting up with this sassy bird again. Because Bare Naked Lola was fun and feisty chicklit-meets-mystery at its finest.
What did I love about it? Hmmm. Lola, for sure. She was such an awesome character to travel along with. She was funny, sexy without even realising it, a little bit insecure to give all us ladies out here something to relate to, understatedly smart to the point you don’t even realise she’s actually solving the case until it all wraps up nicely with a fat bow at the end, and kick-ass when the moment calls for it. Seriously. But the author as done such a great job of 100% subtly weaving all of these traits in, not for one minute is the reader smacked upside the head with any of them. And then there are all the little side characters that support Lola in coming to life. For instance: Jack. We don’t meet Jack in person until fairly far into the book but he is so much a huge presence in Lola’s thoughts that the reader feels as though they already know him by the time he shows up. And when he does turn up, we’re not disappointed. Because he’s just as adorable as Ms Cruz. Then we have Lola’s family. Another adorable bunch that make you wish you were part of the family, too. And let’s not forget the team at the detective agency: I enjoyed learning about each and every one of them. long story short: each and every character, however small a part they seemed to play, was well rounded to the point you understood ‘who’ they were and how they related to Lola.
Onto the mystery solving and the bad guys. No, I’m not going to give it away. Because I loathe spoilers myself. But I spent the entire book thinking, ‘it’s them’, ‘no, no, it’s them’, ‘dammit, is it them?’<<get it? I couldn’t make up my mind. and whilst the end reveal didn’t exact come as a surprise, I’d had my doubts and ran through a whole list of suspects so I probably wouldn’t have been surprised whoever it turned out to be because I’d condemned the lot of them until proven innocent.
So why the loss of half star in the rating, you’re probably wondering. Well, it’s something small, and I’m probably way more to blame than the author, but … I struggled with the bombardment of characters in the very opening. I know, I know, if I’d read the previous titles, I’d have kept up and known who 80% of them were already. But I hadn’t read the previous titles and it took me around the first 5% to organise everyone’s names and roles in my head. Also, the Spanish. No, before you all jump on me, I’m not criticising its use. But I don’t speak the language, and whilst sometimes it was explained, or other times its intent was obvious, that wasn’t always the case. To begin, I found the foreign (to me) language distracting, but the deeper I got into the book, the more I got used to it being there, and the less it bothered me. And quite a few times—those times when its translation was pretty clear—it added to the amusement of the scene.
All in all, a cracking read.
My rating: 4.5
Have you read this title? What’d you think?