Hot and Bothered
Diane Castell
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Hot and Bothered
Diane Castell
320 pages
April 2008
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Hot and Bothered appears to be one of a pair of books following the fortunes of four women, friends since childhood who all have one thing in common: they are all adopted. In Hot and Bothered, the main focus is on Charlotte deShawn, a rookie PI who has been hired by the man she's had a thing for for years, Griffin Parrish.

Griff wants Charlotte to find the whereabouts of baby Jaden, who was given up for adoption years ago. Jaden has just been named in his stepfather's will as co-owner of his hotel.

As Charlotte investigates in her rather haphazard way, she discovers that Jaden was given up for adoption among some rather dodgy events, including a possible murder and a missing valuable necklace. Charlotte's work is hindered by her adoptive father's discouragement and by her feelings for Griff. We also follow the stories of Charlotte's friends Prissy, BrieAnna and Bebe as they try to find love and make their own way in the world.

There is little suspense in this book - I guessed Jaden's identity almost instantly, the writing makes it very clear where the romances are going, and the setting in Savannah is good but also a little stereotypical. It's hard to like any of the lead characters, who seem fairly selfish and just do what they feel like. Also, some of the romances seem very shallow, and some events are impossible to believe in. Although Charlotte's romance, and that of one of her friends, is wrapped up here, some plot elements aren't completed; I assume these carry forward to the next book. It won't be a book that I will rush out to buy, however, as this story doesn't really have enough depth and characterization to make it truly satisfying.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2009

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