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Monday, August 22, 2016

Roadmap Girl Reviews Maxine Nunes' Dazzled

Title: Dazzled 
Series: Nikki Easton Mystery Series, Book 1
Author: Maxine Nunes
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Five Star
Date of Release: October 23, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1432827304
Available on Amazon (Paperback, Kindle and Hard Cover):
Author Website: www.maxinenunes.com

Reviewed by Marlan Warren originally Roadmap Girl’s Book Buzz

“I wondered how anyone ever felt at home here, where there was nothing you could trust to hold on to, not even the ground beneath your feet.”—Dazzled

Synopsis: Feisty one-liner actress Nikki Easton finds herself embroiled in a quest to either find out who murdered her best friend—the "dazzling" aspiring actress Darla—or verify that the unrecognizable corpse buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is really someone else. Along the way, Nikki finds herself smitten with a sexy cop, looks for clues at a Playboy-type mansion, and tangles with unsavory Underworld characters whose antics and shocking connections are nearly indistinguishable from the rest of Hollywood's movers who slither through this book. Sex, drugs and lost souls who are torn between the need to be "somebody" and the desire to flee L.A. keep this mystery ticking like the proverbial time bomb.
Critique: Maxine Nunes' “Dazzled” is a tale told with such precision for atmospheric details, lifestyle annoyances and pitch perfect dialogue, it should come with a cautionary disclaimer for Los Angelenos:

"Warning: May induce the sensation that you are still inside the plot every time you look up from the book."

True to its genre, the story takes readers where others have gone before, but Nunes puts a fresh spin on the familiar elements through inspired turns of phrases ("...a man who evidently thought a strip of chest hair would do for a necktie") and quirky 21st Century updates (gifted with a bouquet, the only "vase" Nikki can find is an empty Slurpee cup).

Nunes also has a gift for depicting layered characters. To this end, she makes excellent use of an acting class that demands "honest emotions" of its students. In the hands of a lesser writer, these scenes could come off as satire or excessively dramatic; but here they skillfully alternate between humor and pathos while giving readers the necessary insights.
“The stronger the personality the more it hid.”—Dazzled

“Dazzled” lovingly and painstakingly explores the paradoxical contradictions of Los Angeles and its hapless inhabitants. The smell of night jasmine juxtaposes with the stench of the morgue...an actress with a "show biz" sensuality hides her true self in plain sight...and all the sleights of hand resonate in the book's first line:

What's real?

At its core, the mystery explores love in its various forms and disguises. Twists, turns and double-crosses abound. Enough to keep the pages turning, but not so complicated or overloaded with characters that it ever feels unwieldy.

All in all, a fun read—unless you are living in L.A., in which case you might have fun while also thinking about leaving town; or if you are the optimistic type, you might find yourself looking forward to a sequel.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Marlan Warren is an avid tweeter (@MalanWarren). You should know her! And--obviously--a book fan. But she is also a PR girl who writers should get to know.

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

1 comment:

Marlan Warren said...

Thank you so much, Carolyn, for publishing my review of "Dazzled." Maxine Nunes is such a gifted writer. She deserves to be read!