Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mystery Book Review: The Next Ex by Linda L. Richards

Linda L. Richard's second Madeline Carter mystery is scheduled for release in December 2005. An advance reading copy was reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently; its review is republished below:

Title: The Next Ex
Author: Linda L. Richards
Publisher: Mira Books (Paperback Original)
Publication Date: December 2005
ISBN: 0-7783-2240-0
Series Character(s): Madeline Carter
Entry in Series: Second

On a chilly winter afternoon, start a fire in the fireplace, open a bottle of wine, curl up in an easy chair, and be prepared to thoroughly enjoy Linda L. Richards’ second Madeline Carter mystery, The Next Ex.

Former stockbroker and current day-trader Madeline Carter is offered the opportunity to teach the latest wife of powerful Hollywood producer Maxi Livingston the ins and outs of the stock market as quid pro quo for some upgrades to her living quarters. Madeline unexpectedly finds Keesia, the current Mrs. Livingston, to be as smart as she is beautiful, and the two soon become fast friends. When Madeline finds Keesia murdered at her own A-list party, one in which several of the previous Mrs. Livingston’s were also in attendance, she begins to wonder if there was some thing more to Keesia’s interest in the stock market. As Madeline sets out to investigate Keesia’s murder, it isn’t long before several of Maxi Livingston’s ex-wives are found dead, though how the murders are related is a mystery. And for reasons she doesn’t understand, Madeline finds herself the target of a ruthless killer.

The plot here is generally along the lines of a typical Nancy Drew mystery, right down to the Nancy (read Madeline)-in-peril chapter towards the end. Since the characterizations and dialog are so well written, this doesn’t detract from the overall satisfaction of the book, especially for readers who enjoyed Nancy Drew as children (or even now as adults!). But it does make the storyline somewhat predictable. If there’s a weak aspect to the book, it is Madeline’s relationship with Gus which seems a bit superfluous and distracting to the story; maybe the author was trying to add depth or conflict to Madeline’s persona by unnecessarily adding a love interest.

Madeline Carter is a very appealing and interesting character and The Next Ex a delightful mystery. It will be interesting to see where Linda L. Richards takes Madeline on her next adventure.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing the ARC of The Next Ex for this review.

Copyright © 2005 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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