Ever since the stars of her fictional Regency mystery series popped out of her imagination and materialized to real life in her living room, author Maggie Kelley has known no peace. Murder mysteries just follow the handsome and arrogant Alexander Blakely, the mystery-solving Viscount Saint Just, and his adorable bumbling sidekick, Sterling Balder, from between the pages of Maggie’s books and into real life, leaving the nicotine-addicted Maggie frazzled and reeling.
This time, Maggie’s friend and publisher Bernice Toland-James wakes up to find herself covered in blood and in bed next to the dead body of Buddy, her second husband who had disappeared at sea almost seven years ago and was presumed dead. With no clues to go on, Maggie grows increasingly frustrated as the press have a field day with the murder and the D.A. looks like he’ll gleefully crucify Bernie to win the election. Things are further complicated as Alex and Sterling’s move into the condo next door is interrupted when the mob comes looking for something and refuses to take "no" for an answer - and the tangled love triangle between Maggie, Alex and NYPD Lieutenant Steve Wendell continues its status quo.
This Maggie series of books by Kasey Michaels continues to entertain enthralled readers with seemingly insoluble murder mysteries and the growing complex nature of the relationship between author Maggie Kelly and her fictional-hero-in-real-life, Alex Blakely. This latest murder mystery tests the bounds of friendship to the utmost as Maggie and Bernie both have to confront their individual substance addictions in the face of dire necessity while being there for one another through thick and thin. Sexual tension fairly sizzles between Alex and Maggie as they struggle to resolve their emotional conflicts and the romance triangle continues unabated. Sterling Balder and other old and new side characters add to the general mayhem, even as the central characters are confronted with multiple mysteries, one more dangerous than the other.
The author also successfully keeps the readers in suspense by providing a plethora of possible motives and suspects galore. But more than the difficult mystery or the emotional entanglements, it is the growth or transition of Alex Blakely from being a mere figment of Maggie’s imagination to a real person with surprisingly intense passions and feelings that adds a hitherto unexpected edge and interest to story. It even distracts from the fact that Maggie Kelly has been reduced to a sort of dithering and frantic creature who seems to be making no progress in her life, either in resolving her emotions or confronting her long-rooted problems. Still, the book manages to be a sterling addition to the series and one which keeps the readers thirsting for more.