Watson’s novel may not break the bank, but it’s by no means a losing hand.
Tate Bertram’s life is complicated to say the least: he is a gambling addict who won’t admit to a problem even when he’s busted by his brother after nearly dying during a confrontation over gambling debts. Luckily, Tate’s wealthy parents paid off his debts—the first time. When Tate gets in trouble again, though, they turn to tough love. Thankfully there’s Tate’s politician aunt, who’s running against her brother-in-law, a man who may have mob connections. Watson’s plot will keep readers interested—her narrative twists and turns wildly as Tate lives his life of privilege, matches wits with his fellow intern/housemate/childhood friend/love interest, the Bulgarian-born Alex (adoptive daughter of the political rival, no less!), and uncovers a political mystery—even if the somewhat stilted dialogue throws in the occasional speed bump. Tate and his family are white, but Watson adds hints of diversity in half-Irish, half-Brazilian Finley, another love interest (introduced in Seeking Mansfield, 2017), and a few other secondary characters. The diversity falters, though; like many good-looking white guys, this book is all about Tate. The gambling subplot is handled well and provides Tate with some much-needed flaws as he walks the line between believable and idealized-character-trope territory.
Faults aside, Watson’s plot is snappy, and she manages to keep Tate likable through all of his highly unlikable moments. (Fiction. 14-19)