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Posted July 8, 2013
Sophie's a 27-year-old good girl, fresh out of grad school with a doctorate in entomology, who doesn't have a job. She's from a highly educated commune family, who raised her with lots of love, trust and support. Zane's a 30-year-old bad boy, owns a landscaping company, and comes from the disgraced Thorson family. He grew up surrounded by hatred, mistrust and violence. One summer ten years ago Sophie and Zane were lovers. Though they parted with angry words and misunderstandings, their short time together left a mark on both of them, so much so, that they still feel a strong attraction to one another.
When they meet again ten years later at Sophie's sister's wedding, Sophie says she can't find a job and Zane offers her one at his landscaping company. He sees this as a chance to demean Sophie and let her see how it feels to really work for a living. But what begins as Zane's attempt to denigrate Sophie, ends in Sophie trying to find the killer who's framing Zane for murder.
Though they continually argue with one another, Sophie knows that Zane has worked hard to be a better person than his father and brother. She's seen the sensitive and caring side of Zane that everyone else in town overlooks, and she knows that Zane could never hurt anybody.
Zane's suffered through the town's scorn all of his life due to the cruelty of his family. His father's in jail for murder and his brother's been on the run for several years. When a young woman's body is discovered on Zane's property, the police automatically assume Zane is the killer. Sophie's the only one who comes to his defense, much to the chagrin of her family. It's hard for Zane to accept her help. Not only does he question her motivations, but he's not used to having anyone be nice to him.
UP IN FLAMES is a wonderful story of overcoming prejudices and ignoring rumors to do what's morally right. It also shows us that your past doesn't always have to dictate your future and that honest communication can break down prejudices.
UP IN FLAMES is also a good mystery. It's filled with lots of shady characters and potential suspects, and includes some surprising twists. And Sophie gets to use her entomology knowledge to help with the case. The story kept me guessing until the final reveal. Really. I couldn't figure it out until then.
So if you're looking for a great mystery or an interesting romance, UP IN FLAMES is the right book for you. It's a perfect story to read on the beach or curled up in a warm chair on a rainy day. It has an interesting good girl/bad boy vibe. AND it doesn't end on a cliffhanger. Just make sure you have a lot of time to read. You might find you can't put the book down until you've read the very last page.
* I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books and Edelweiss for an honest review.
** Also follow my reviews on the Blue Moon Mystery Saloon blog.
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