Swank (the Rose Gardner mysteries) introduces a feisty ex-starlet as the star of this witty romantic mystery. Summer Butler captured America’s heart as the lead in a teenage-sleuth television series. A decade later, her manipulative mother has stolen most of her earnings, the loan she cosigned on her grandfather’s farm back in Alabama is coming due, and Summer, now an adult but still pigeonholed as a child star, can’t land a job. In desperation, she agrees to take part in a reality show in which she returns to her tiny hometown to investigate real crimes alongside her cousin, Dixie. The demands of the harridan showrunner and the crimes she lines up seem designed to make Summer look ridiculous, and she keeps having run-ins with her onetime boyfriend Luke, now the town’s chief of police. When Summer stumbles across a dead body and someone knocks her unconscious, it becomes clear that she has discovered something genuinely sinister. Her decision to investigate off-camera with Dixie imperils both of them as they stumble toward the truth. The culprit is a little too obvious, but there are enough murky figures and secrets for some enjoyable false leads. Swank’s sassy humor and gentle ribbing of both small-town earnestness and Hollywood fakery make for a cute and entertaining story. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/27/2017 Release date: 01/01/2018 Genre: Fiction
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