Title: Up a Dry Creek
Author: Avery Flynn
Page Count: 168 pages (.pdf format)
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: contemporary romance, first in a series
Copy for review provided by Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting in anticipation of an honest review
Synopsis: Claire Layton expects the usual busy Saturday night at Harvest Bistro to be killer on her stilletto shod feet. She never imagines there’d be an actual murderer on the loose at her restaurant in rural Dry Creek, Nebraska. But when she discovers a customer dead in a dumpster, the killer demands she find the victim’s phone and flash drive or face fatal consequences.
Jake Warrick, a cocky and mind-numbingly hot private investigator, becomes Claire’s unlikely ally in the search. Jake just wants to solve the case and get out of this hick town, but the diminutive and curvaceous Claire turns his plan upside down as they uncover a more complex crime than they ever imagined. The two bicker and banter like Tracy and Hepburn caught in a whirlwind of intense sexual attraction as they try to find the killer before it’s too late.
Hark! What's this? A contemporary romance reviewed at What Book is That?! I know, these sorts of things don't happen all that often, and that's because it takes a good contemporary romance to grab my attention and keep me reading to the end of the book. Up a Dry Creek definitely did that, and the cliffhanger at the end made me eager to read the next book.
By all accounts, Claire Layton is a successful woman- she has her MBA, she owns her own business, she has a great family and supportive friends, and is working hard at overcoming the breakup of the century and moving on with things in the romance department. Finding the body of a murder victim in her restaurant's dumpster and being contacted/blackmailed by the killer into recovering the victim's cell phone and flash drive is not up her alley in any way, shape or form, and Claire is justifiably freaked out.
Enter smokin' hot private investigator Jake Warrick, who freely admits that he's involved with the murder investigation at the request of the victim's father, to make sure that local law enforcement doesn't screw anything up. Since one of Claire's brothers is a cop, that goes over about as well as one might expect.
The sparks fly between these two from their first meeting. Loins are girded. Panties are dampened. Zippers are strained. All the while, danger is erupting all around them and the families on both sides are closing in to find out whether this is a serious relationship or something that needs to be nipped in the bud.
The family dynamics and development of the relationship take center stage, and the murder mystery is definitely relegated to the back burner. This is okay by me though, because the development of those relationships serves to advance the plot and lay the foundation for (I hope) future books. Example: Jake's dad has stage 4 lung cancer, and is still working at the family-owned security firm as the captain of the proverbial ship. Jake has to deal with the dawn of a new relationship as well as the realization that his dad won't be around for much longer; this added depth to Jake's character and also addressed a facet of life that doesn't show up in romance novels all that often. Many times, a family member will die, but it happens off screen and the characters find out about it after the fact. Here, we are confronted with a fact of life; albeit an unhappy one.
I was satisfied with the ending of the book; I admit that the relationship took center stage for me so I didn't care as much about the revelation of the murderer and the motives behind the crime as I would have with a story without the same level of relationship development. I will say, though, that I was happy that the author chose to resolve the geographical issues facing Claire and Jake the way she did (Claire lives in Dry Creek, Nebraska and Jake lives and works in Denver), that being in a way that was logical but didn't involve anyone doing anything stupid. Kudos all the way around.
Avery Flynn, supported by Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting, has graciously offered up ONE DIGITAL COPY of Up a Dry Creek to a lucky participant in the carnival! To enter, simply fill out the form below. Remember to comment on http://www.whatbookisthat.com/2011/07/why-read-indie-books-25-amazon-gc.html>this post saying you entered the Up a Dry Creek giveaway for an added shot at the Amazon gift card!
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