Y’all, I feel like I talk about Lucy Score more than I talk about ANYTHING, including my dog and my mama. But there is a reason for that, and that is that she can *write*. Her books are steamy, well-plotted, funny, real. Her characters are sympathetic, and the HEAs feel earned. Every book of hers that I have read has been a complete joy.
I’ve also talked about this series specifically because it reminds me that you can have a funny, racy detective series that is actually better than those ubiquitous Stephanie Plum books that everyone holds up as the pinnacle of the genre. I hate to be the one to break it to Ms. Evanovich, but her crown has fallen off and landed—ok, probably crookedly, but that’s completely on-brand—on Lucy’s messy curls.
But series are tough to maintain, which brings us to—
Riley Thorn and her hot, tattooed, private investigator boyfriend are all moved in to their new fixer-upper. Not only do they finally have their own place, they also haven’t found any new dead bodies on the premises.
Yep. It looks like summer is over and so is Riley’s bad luck. Or is it?
While Nick gives up sleeping and showering to obsess over the cold case that still haunts him, his business partner Mrs. Penny is calling the investigative shots. It’s every bit as bad as you can imagine.
Meanwhile, Riley has her hands full fixing up the crumbling crime scene they call home and setting boundaries with the breaking-and-entering octogenarians next door. You know. Normal stuff.
But normal comes to a screeching halt when our favorite psychic is abducted by a stranger with candy, and her powers go on the fritz. To make matters worse, it becomes clear that Riley’s new house guests are definitely either in trouble or are trouble after bad guys deliver a warning with a severed finger.
Can Nick and Riley solve the case the old-fashioned way before they all end up in pieces? Or will a surprise birthday party, a dog doody bandit, an accidental arson, and a blast from the past be too much for them to handle?
In the author’s note, Lucy indicates that she had envisioned this as a trilogy. Riley and Nick would get together in book one, get engaged in book two and get married in book three. The end. But she has unexpectedly filled a notebook with plots for future books, and needs to transition this series from a planned trilogy to an ongoing series with no clearly-outlined plot beats. This is uncharted territory for a romance author. The romance genre is pretty rigid—books and series are constructed to tight formulas. This kind of book—a sprawling 10-15-20 book series is, quite frankly, not what Lucy Score does. And that shows a little bit in this third book. You can almost hear the gears creaking as she tries to make the pivot.
Please don’t misunderstand me. This book is hilarious, and steamy, and I really enjoyed it. But I didn’t love that the ending felt like a set-up for the next book, and not an ending unto itself. I didn’t like that Riley and Nick didn’t seem to move forward at all in this one. I get that their relationship now needs to s t r e t c h over a lot more books, but that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be progress made in every book, and this one felt, honestly, like a small step backwards for our love birds.
So, a fun, funny, steamy book with a ludicrous plot well-executed. Quirky supporting characters, and a heroine to root for. I still have very high hopes for the series, and will anxiously await book four. I just hope that once the pivot is complete, we will find a slightly better rhythm. And maybe better endings.