False Profits
Patricia Smiley
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False Profits

Patricia Smiley
Mysterious Press
304 pages
November 2004
rated 5 of 5 possible stars
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Management consultant Tucker Sinclair’s one all-consuming goal in life is to make partner at Aames and Associates, and she won’t let anything distract her from it – whether it’s her recent divorce, or her actress mother Pookie who, along with her annoying little terrier Muldoon, shows no signs of ever leaving Tucker’s Malibu beach cottage, or her Aunt Sylvia, who’s bent on overthrowing Tucker’s inheritance of the cottage, or even Dr. Milton Polk, her most aggressive and disagreeable client.

On the eve of achieving her Holy Grail, Tucker discovers that all her years of hard work might have been for nothing as Polk has cleverly falsified the business plan she’d provided him in his grandiose quest to expand his neurodiagnostic testing center and implicated her in the whole ghastly affair. Now, with the cheated investors howling for her blood, Tucker’s career appears headed straight down the toilet even as Polk conveniently washes up dead.

Struggling to piece the various pieces of this extremely complex puzzle together, Tucker uncovers more skeletons than she’d hoped for - affairs, insurance scams, medical malpractice, and so much more. Unfortunately, none of them exonerate her. As danger draws ever closer, it becomes a race against time to see if Tucker can find the truth before death finds her.

In this sometimes zany but always entertaining debut novel, author Patricia Smiley takes the readers on a wild journey across the length and breadth of L.A. on the trail of Tucker Sinclair, the bogged-down heroine who tries anything and everything to exonerate herself from the conspiracy that’s she’s been sucked into most unknowingly, and who’s determined to find the truth even if it kills her. During the course of the novel, Smiley delves deep into the world of medical malpractice as well as takes a scathing look at the proverbial glass ceiling women almost always face in the workplace. But the novel isn’t just one serious investigation; there are plenty of laughs, too, as Tucker’s wild escapades (almost always in her quest for truth) keep the readers spellbound. Smiley's witty, wisecracking narrative ensures a smile is always on their lips. There is almost a romantic angle as well in the story, but while wildly promising, it’s not developed fully, giving rise to the hopes that the intrepid Tucker Sinclair will soon be back in yet another crazy caper. If this fresh, energetic, engaging and well plotted debut is anything to go by, then readers have found a new favorite in author Patricia Smiley.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Rashmi Srinivas, 2004

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