Book Review: Lust, Money, and Murder: Book 1 by Mike Wells

Lust, Money & Murder: Book 1 by Mike Wells – 3 stars

This book begins with a young and naive Elaine Brogan as she initially pursues her dream of a career as a photomodel. After becoming entangled with a sleazy modeling agency, she decides to become a Secret Service agent, struggling through the arduous training academy. After her first disastrous assignment, she is transferred to Bulgaria. There, she meets Nick LaGrange, the love of her life.

This book hooked me with the first couple of chapters, which I liked quite a bit. Then something funny happened. For the next several chapters, everything was exposition. Elaine’s life prior to starting work as a Secret Service agent is explained instead of developed. It could just as easily have been skipped without losing anything. Better yet, it could have been developed to make this a full book.

Infodumping is one of my biggest pet peeves in a book. I don’t enjoy it. Whenever I read it for more than a paragraph, my brain tunes it out and just says ‘blah blah blah’ until it ends. With this book, I heard the blahs for far too long.

That said, when it does finally get there, the book is alright, just nothing to get excited about. It does have a decent plot, but spends too much time on a flat, silly romance instead of on intrigue and danger and such things. Elaine is a plain character, just barely pushing into the third dimension by a hair. Nick is well done, insofar as there’s much revealed about him, which there isn’t. I wished the story was about him instead, because he seemed more interesting.

I’m really only giving this 3 stars because it’s free, short, and a quick read – I feel I got my money’s worth from it. After checking a sample of the second book, I was disappointed to see it starts right where the previous book leaves off (in the middle of a conversation), as if it was originally supposed to be a single book, but broken up into two (three?) parts as a marketing ploy.

If you like thrillers, you’ll probably see what I saw: maybe read this one to get to the next one. I’m going to pass on the rest, though. The author has bundled the three books of this ‘series’ into one book, which you can find here: Lust, Money & Murder (Books 1, 2 & 3).

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