Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author and The Book Club in exchange of an honest review. The views expressed herein are solely my own and there has been no monetary exchange involved.
Its been quite a while that I read (or re-read, for that matter) Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew. I love those novels and I’ve been a fan of Nancy, Bess, and George ever since I started reading them.
Reading Pamela Hutchins’ Hell to Pay was like a trip down the memory lane where live the excitement, the thrill, and the happiness that I’ve felt reading authors like Carolyn Keene and Enid Blyton. This was like reading about a grown-up Nancy Drew-an experience that I absolutely enjoyed.
The story starts at a party where Emily Bernal-the Nancy Drew of this story-is celebrating new beginnings with her fiance Jack and friends Phil and Nadine. A sudden murder causes Phil to come under suspicion and eventually slip into a diabetic coma. From thereon starts Emily’s journey to discover the truth that will get her friends out of this mess. Before she knows it, however, her relationship with Jack is dragged bang into the middle of this mess and finding out the truth becomes even more important.
Emily’s is a character that is nuanced and dealt with beautifully. She is strong, weak, charming, and irritating all rolled into one. She can catch rattlesnakes and wears braces-a character detail that left the writer in me completely in awe of Pamela (there is a small story behind why Emily wears braces at 30; read Pamela’s interview here to know about it). Jack is your totally-makes-me-go-weak-in-the-knees kind of guy! The story deals with a lot of characters and lots of twists and turns, some that completely change the track of the story. With all these characters and twists, it is amazing to see how the story does not confuse you one bit; rather it is so difficult to put down this book. The best part is how the story comes full circle in the end.
Laced with humor that will keep you laughing till pages after you’ve finished reading, mystery that will make you want to read that just one more page more than ever, and romance that will reinstate your belief in happily-ever-afters, this is one is an extremely enjoyable read. It certainly certainly deserves to be up there on your TBR!
P. S.: There’s an interesting conversation with the author of this delightful read, Pamela Hutchins, up on my blog. Read on and you’ll know why Pamela is an author whose books certainly have to make it to your shelves. Thank you Pamela for this interesting conversation!
And before I forget, here’s the blurb of this book:
Big-haired paralegal and former rodeo queen Emily thinks she’s got her life back on track. Her adoption of Betsy seems like a done deal, her parents have reunited, and she’s engaged to her sexy boss Jack. Then client Phil Escalante’s childhood buddy Dennis drops dead, face first into a penis cake at the adult novelty store Phil owns with his fiancée Nadine, one of Emily’s best friends. The cops charge Phil with murder right on the heels of his acquittal in a trail for burglarizing the Mighty is His Word church offices. Emily’s nemesis ADA Melinda Stafford claims her witness overheard Phil fighting with Dennis over a woman, right about the time Phil falls into a diabetic coma, leaving Nadine shaken and terrified. Meanwhile Betsy’s ultra-religious foster parents apply to adopt her and Jack starts acting weird and evasive. Emily feels like a calf out of a chute, pulled between the ropes of the header and the heeler, as she fights to help Phil and Nadine without losing Betsy and Jack.
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