Welcome to the Pump Up Your Book Tour for Stilettos & Scoundrels
Presley Thurman is suddenly unemployed and, considering how much she likes to shop and frequent Starbucks, that is not a good thing. Luckily, her friend, Trevor, has offered her the opportunity to write an article for a small online magazine about Senator Tom Daniels, an up and coming political star with presidential aspirations who happens to be from Presley’s hometown, Alkon, Illinois. So Presley decides to spend some time with her parents and try to snag an interview with the senator.
Once Presley arrives back in the small town of Alkon, she encounters many old friends with whom she attended school, including her old boyfriend, Brian, and her best girlfriend, Katy, who runs the local hair salon. She is also reunited with high school fling Cooper Sands, who is now heading up the senator’s security detail, and the local sheriff, Dirt.
Presley’s plan is derailed when the senator is murdered in his own home — stabbed in the neck with a stiletto heel. But Trevor convinces her that the article about the senator will be even more compelling in light of his sudden and untimely death. Presley is determine to get the story . . . by finding the murderer, even though she has absolutely no experience in law enforcement or investigations.
Cooper, expressing a renewed interest in Presley, tries to convince Presley to let the professionals, including the FBI agents who have descended upon Alkon, look for the killer. But Presley’s snooping around town reveals that Cooper has a few secrets, as do Helen, the senator’s wife; Bobby, another old friend from high school whose mother, Ruth, would love to fix her son up with Presley; and brothers Chris and Tobey, an aide to the senator. Suspicious dalliances, late-night rendezvous’, and rumored ties between the late senator and Las Vegas mobsters fuel Presley’s curiosity and resolution to solve the crime and write the story. But will she live to tell the tale?
Presley Thurman is a naive, but stubbornly persistent would-be investigator and journalist. Since she has no experience or training in law enforcement, she simply confronts local citizens and asks them direct questions about their relationships, activities, and any rumors they may have heard about the dead senator and/or his wife. Her straight-forward approach meets with varying results. For the town gossip, Betty, who runs the local bakery, it is refreshing and welcome because she loves to “dish,” while Ruth, the local librarian, herself as much a gossip-monger as Betty, feigns disapproval.
Romance is in the air as Presley hunts for the senator’s murderer. Cooper has only grown more attractive and desirable in the years since Presley engaged in a brief high school fling with him, and he is not reticent about letting Presley know that he is drawn to her, as well. Their flirtation is charming and chaste — after all, they are engrossed in solving a high-profile crime with little time to explore their burgeoning feelings for each other.
In her debut novel, author Laina Turner Molaski crafts a female protagonist in her late 20’s, residing back at home with her parents after being on her own in Chicago for many years, and utterly lacking the skills to be a top-notch crime investigator. But what Presley lacks in finesse she makes up for with pure chutzpah and bravado. And a great deal of luck.
I want [readers] to be entertained. I am hoping they can read my book and relax at least for a little bit in their busy lives.~ Laina Turner Molaski
The same can be said about Turner Molaski’s writing style. Stilettos and Scoundrels is a fast-paced adventure, featuring plenty of action, but little character development. Rather, the author’s focus is on the fairly complex web of connected supporting characters and Presley’s efforts to make sense of the few solid clues she manages to uncover, along with plenty of innuendo, rumor, and conjecture. The result is a tautly-constructed mystery that will keep readers guessing about the killer’s identity until the last few pages, compelling readers to stick with the story to see if their hunches are accurate, even when the thin characterizations prove frustrating. Turner Molaski promises a second installment in the Presley Thurman franchise in which, hopefully, she will further develop the nuances of the character of Presley, as well as offer readers a more detailed and in-depth exploration of Cooper’s intriguing past.
Eventually, because Presley fails to heed the warnings of not only Cooper and Dirt, but also anonymous callers and message-senders who threaten her life, as well as her family, she lands in a climatic showdown with all of the suspects. Is the killer among them? Will Presley survive to make another run to Starbucks in her four-inch stilettos? You’ll have to read Stilettos and Scoundrels to find out!
Don’t miss the guest post from Laina Turner Molaski, I Write Because I Have To!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one copy of Stilettos and Scoundrels free of charge from the author in conjunction with the Pump Up Your Book review and virtual book tour program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This disclosure complies with 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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One lucky reader, selected at random, will receive a copy of Stilettos and Scoundrels, graciously provided by the author.
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