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UNDER THE PALMS by Kaira Rouda


by Kaira Rouda

Pub Date: May 21st, 2024
ISBN: 9781662511936
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

After their impossibly rocky maiden voyage (Beneath the Surface, 2023), could anything else go wrong with the ultrarich, ultracorrupt Kingsley family? Yes. Absolutely.

“It’s always about succession,” muses much-married patriarch Richard Kingsley as he gathers his offspring and their spouses at Laguna Beach’s Twin Palms Resort for a business retreat, where it’s hard to tell whose TV-ready guilt is most pervasive. His son John—who forced Richard’s brother, Walter, out of the company at his father’s behest—pushed his wife off a yacht. His son Ted has taken to drink since his estrangement from his wife, Paige, whom he seriously shafted after Richard anointed her president of Kingsley Global Enterprises. Paige is plotting to take over the whole company, and John and Ted have maneuvered her into appointing a new assistant, Justin Robinson, whose real job is to spy on her. Serena Kingsley, whose marriage to Richard ended when con man Roman Marino got her pregnant, has come back to beg for his forgiveness and a place in his bed. Sibley Kingsley, the ostracized daughter who calls Serena “hooker,” is back looking for her share of the action. Krystle Carrington, who sued the company unsuccessfully after her brother died on a Kingsley job site, has set her eye on seducing John into marriage. As a fire bears down on Laguna Beach, it would seem obvious that Richard would be killed—except that every other character in attendance is an equally likely murder victim. Rouda keeps the complications coming, but the double-dealing is so unremitting that eventually it all seems weightless and even a little ho-hum.

Fans of lethal soap operas will be happy to know that a third season is on the way.