Author: Mike Wells
Series: This copy contains books 1, 2, and 3
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Publish Date: March 1, 2011
Length: 293 pages
Description (from Amazon): This book begins with a young and naive Elaine Brogan as she initially pursues her dream of a career as a photo model. After becoming entangled with a sleazy modeling agency, she decides to become a Secret Service agent, struggling through the arduous training academy. After her first disastrous assignment, she is transferred to Bulgaria. There, she meets Nick LaGrange, the love of her life.
My Review: Lust, Money, & Murder is one of the most suspenseful books I have read in a long time. Every time you think you have the story figured out and you know what will happen next, the author throws something in that completely changes your mind. They are small details that made me just stare at my screen like, "What just happened?"
The story starts of with Elaine Brogan as a child and sets the groundwork for her relationship with her father. Then a tragic event happens that leads Elaine from desiring to be a model to desperately striving to become an agent with the Secret Service.
The novel then takes the reader on a journey through Elaine's schooling and her training in the Secret Service. While she is stationed in the Bulgaria office (who knew the Secret Service had an office in Bulgaria?) she meets the love of her life, Nick LaGrange. I absolutely loved Nick because he loosened Elaine up and makes her forget the awful reason why she joined the Secret Service.
However, there is a villainous character who has had Elaine involved in their scheme from the very beginning. Someone has been using Elaine and people around her as puppets in their counterfeiting business. I can't really say who because it would be a spoiler. I personally thought it was one person until the end and it turned out to be someone else.
I would have liked to see more of Nick just because I love romance but when he comes in at the end of the novel it completely spurs up more action and suspense.
Excerpt: "“Cheap taxi to center!” “Very low price—” “One hundred dollars—” “New Mercedes, very comfortable—”
“Get out of my way,” Elaine snapped, plowing through them. She followed the signs to ground transportation.
When she stepped out onto the sidewalk, she was struck by a blast of cold air that chilled her to the bone—the temperature was well below zero. It was still dark outside, and the parking lot was covered with snow. Elaine desperately scanned the lot for the men, peering into the windows of the passing vehicles.
They’re probably long gone by now, she thought, terror-stricken. What I am going to do?
She desperately tried to think of someone who could help her, but the only person that came to mind was Nick. And he was in jail somewhere. Then, across the parking lot, she spotted the man with the pockmarked face. He was unlocking the door of a large black SUV. The other man was not with him.
“Taxi?” a voice said from behind her. Elaine whirled around, afraid it was the second man. But it was only a taxi driver, in the usual Russian taxi driver outfit—a cheap-looking brown faux leather jacket, a plaid scarf, and a black driver’s cap. He looked harmless—big, but with stooped over shoulders. He had sad eyes that reminded her of a basset hound’s. “I give very good price to center,” he said, vapor pluming from his mouth. “Ninety dollars. My car not so good—” he pointed to a little beat-up Lada that splattered with brown slush,”— but price very good.” The black SUV was pulling away now.
“Fine, let’s go,” she said, moving towards his car. The big man moved surprisingly fast for his size. He rushed over to the Lada and opened the passenger door for her, throwing the front seat forward. She climbed into the back of the cramped little Russian-made vehicle.
He got in and started the engine. “Which hotel?”
“See that black SUV?” Elaine said, pointing. “Jeep?” “Yes, jeep.” She had forgotten that’s what Russians called all SUVs.
“Follow the jeep.” As he pulled away, Elaine nervously glanced around the inside of the car, taking everything in, sizing him up. Attached to the dashboard was a square icon of Mary Magdalene. Next to it was a clipboard with color flyers for nightclubs, photos of scantily clad women on the front. In the compartment below, a dog-eared road atlas and a couple of short fishing poles, the type used for ice fishing. She didn’t think he was anything other than what he appeared to be, an independent taxi driver.
The SUV was picking up speed. It soon disappeared around the ramp that led to the highway. “Don’t lose it,” Elaine said, her voice trembling.
Overall Opinion: Overall, I loved Lust, Money, & Murder. I really enjoyed this book not only because of the action and suspense, but because of the strong female lead. Elaine is an amazing heroine who doesn't need a man to survive and flourish in her career. This is definitely a mystery and suspense book that is in no way predictable and I rate it 5 stakes.
Get to Know the Author (from Amazon): Mike Wells is an American bestselling author of over 20 "unputdownable" thriller and suspense novels, including Lust, Money, & Murder and Passion, Power, & Sin. He is also known for his young adult books, such as The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer, The Wrong Side of the Tracks, and Wild Child, which are used by English teachers in high schools and colleges worldwide. Formerly a screenwriter, Wells has a fast-paced, cinematic writing style. His work is often compared to that of the late Sidney Sheldon, with strong and inspiring female heroes, tightly-written scenes, engaging action/dialogue, and numerous plot twists. He currently lives in Europe and teaches part-time in the Creative Writing program at the University of Oxford.
Where to Get Your Copy: Kobo | Amazon | Sony | Smashwords
Book 1, Lust, is currently free on Amazon at the time of posting.
Suggested Book: Passion, Power, & Sin by Mike Wells. Like Lust, Money, & Murder this story is broken up into parts, this story having 5 parts that are all currently published.
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