Firmin’s first novel is a first-rate murder mystery.
Megan Riley’s circle of friends includes Rachel Feinman, Alexandra Grant and Kathleen Rosario—all wives of wealthy California men. Their lives revolve around the Bayside Yacht Club, their yachts and the club’s activities. But unlike her friends, Megan is working girl—she doesn’t own a yacht, makes her living selling real estate and has recently ended a serious relationship. Despite their cushy lifestyles, Megan’s friends are not without their problems; all of their marriages are in various states of decay, some in graver condition than others. While sunbathing on Alexandra’s yacht, the friends learn of the death of mutual acquaintance George Fisher; he had suffered a heart attack while in the company of a hooker. All are shocked by the news, but none are surprised. The ladies discuss their husbands’ proclivities for obtaining sexual favors through nefarious means, as well as the ladies’ shared desire to retaliate against the guys. The ladies bandy about the idea of finding a gigolo that they can share and agreed upon it—at least in principle. Meanwhile, detective Matt Donovan is busy investigating the Bondage Murder, a grisly case in which a prostitute’s mutilated body was found near the house where George died. It seems George’s hooker was close friends with the murdered prostitute. In attempting to track down Alexandra’s husband to question him about the murder, Matt winds up on the yacht with the sunbathing ladies. Megan is instantly smitten with the handsome detective, and it seems the attraction is mutual. As Megan’s relationship with Matt progresses, her naughty gigolo pact with her friends and Matt’s murder investigation intertwine. This juicy tale moves at breakneck speed, making for an exciting read. At times, however, this rushing speed results in underdeveloped story elements, such as a dog that suddenly shows up in Megan’s life and then plays a crucial role in the plot. But this is a minor issue that takes little away from what is overall a terrific novel. Because Firmin gives equal time to her female and male characters, the book should be equally appealing both sexes—no small feat.
A swiftly paced tale of lust, seduction, duplicity and horror, Firmin’s debut easily keeps the pages turning.