Hot Boyz
Marissa Monteilh
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Hot Boyz

Marissa Monteilh
352 pages
April 2004
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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When you combine three handsome, successful brothers and the women who love them with secrets, suspense and hard-hitting issues, youíre bound to have a hot story. That said, Marissa Monteilh brings the heat with her third novel, Hot Boyz.

Curled Up With a Good BookBased in Ladera Heights, an affluent predominantly black neighborhood of Los Angeles, Hot Boyz is reminiscent of the 1997 motion picture Soul Food directed by George Tillman, Jr. While the movie was based in Chicago and focused on three sisters, their marriages and other life dilemmas, Hot Boyz evolves around three brothers.

The eldest, Mason Wilson, is a phenomenal professional golfer who has been married for eighteen years to Mercedes. She not only picks up the parenting slack in Masonís absence, but she also manages her own modeling agency and cares for Masonís mother, Mattie, who suffers from Alzheimer's. With two teenage kids, Masonís fame and time spent away from home begin to take their toll on the family. Mason has skeletons in his closet and holds many secrets, but when his wife discovers one, will their marriage survive?

Speaking of survival, Claude Wilson is barely hanging on mentally after the love of his life, Fatima, is murdered on Thanksgiving Day. Claude throws himself completely into his work as the areaís most successful realtor and never takes time to really mourn. Fatimaís best friend Venus fulfills a promise by caring for both Claude and Fatimaís son, Cameron. In fact, Venus and Claude get married, but somehow something is missing. When another tragedy occurs, Claude learns how he truly feels about his wife.

The youngest Wilson brother is Torino. As manager of Masonís nightclub Foreplay, where patrons come hoping to get a glimpse of the owner, Torino has access to all kinds of ladies. Although he has a girlfriend, Colette, he finds it difficult to be faithful. Interestingly, he is betrayed by his best friend and ultimately breaks up with Colette. He ends up finding love in someone he would never expect. But his newfound love and happiness could be short-lived due to Coletteís fatal-attraction tendencies.

Since her debut novel, May December Souls, Marissa Monteilh has matured as a writer. With Hot Boyz, she gives readers a birdís-eye view of challenges faced by the wealthy, which incidentally are the same as those faced by the working class. She develops the characters well and puts them in realistic situations that readers can relate to. Also impressive is the engaging dialogue that heightens the pace of the novel and keeps readers entertained. Although the authorís use of brand name descriptions at times seems excessive, Hot Boyz is a hot read and easily Monteilhís best novel to date.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Joan Burke Stanford, 2004

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