Beaumaaks’ debut combines money, sex, and double-dealing in the unlikely setting of an animal hospital.
Power couple Carston and Madison Spencer own an exotic animal hospital in Port Royal, Florida, where there are more millionaires than anywhere else in the country. The Port Royal Exotic Animal Hospital services the area’s pampered pets and generates a hefty income for the couple. Madison and her handsome, gifted husband are the center of a group of the rich and aimless. Madison introduces this huge cast as they gather for happy hour cocktails, taking care to note each one’s outstanding physical attributes and preferred clothing brands. It’s no surprise, however, that there is trouble in paradise. TJ, one of the animal hospital’s employees, is the defendant in a high-profile murder trial involving incest and family secrets—a “good smut story,” to be sure. TJ is also not so secretly in love with Carston and scheming against Madison. Of more concern is Madison’s discovery of Carston’s plan to sell the veterinary practice without telling her. Suspecting that Carston may be using drugs, Madison hires a private detective and unearths a much bigger conspiracy involving many of their friends. Like many soap operas, this novel is a snarl of plot threads, so perhaps it’s a good thing the characters constantly explain each new turn of events to one another. Madison’s narrative voice is appropriately gossipy and informal, but frequent switches from past to present tense, sometimes within the same sentence, thwart readability. Despite the intrigue, there is little tension as Madison and her allies take on her thoroughly unlikable husband and his cronies. She even picks up a cute, young boyfriend along the way. As Madison’s friend Venetia remarks, “We are fabulous, you know, Madison, simply fabulous!” Unrelenting fabulousness, however, doesn’t necessarily make compelling reading.
A titillating but tangled scandal.