Sunday, October 03, 2010

REVIEW: "Executive Lunch" by Maria E. Schneider

Sedona thinks it's just another boring day at Strandfrost, as she goes about her normal activities. And it is a boring day....until she accidentally stumbles upon a mugging happening right there in the hallway! A six-inch switchblade, a shady director, some seedy characters sprinkled in, and suddenly Sedona is unwittingly thrown into the role of "bait" so management can solve a crime of embezzlement going on right under its nose.

"Executive Lunch" by Maria E. Schneider is a combination of a few of my favorite genres; it's chick lit with a little "cozy" thrown in. The main character, Sedona, is someone you can't help but like. She's reminiscent of some of our favorite hapless female heroines; accidental sleuths (with an edge) who somehow stumble right into the thick of things. She's joined by Huntington (whose motives initially seem unclear), Turbo (always there when you need him...well, except when you *really* need him), Marilyn (a bigger part of this than even she knows), and the rest of the interesting characters that make up this cast.

Although I liked the overall plot and I was eager to read to the ending, I have to admit to being confused by some of the transitions. I had to reread some action scenes to get a grasp on who was doing what, and  several times I was surprised to see a character start speaking when I had no clue that character was even in the vicinity. Upon looking back, I'd sometimes see that the character was introduced by not being introduced- in the excitement of the moment, Sedona recognized that body/face/shape/walk, and then we'd find out in the next chapter who it was because he or she would start speaking. I am all for tension building to end a chapter and I think it's a great technique to build suspense, but it seemed that a great deal of the moments in the story were introduced this way. After a quick-moving beginning, the story slowed down and sagged a bit in the middle, and I began to wonder if we were still heading in the direction I thought we were heading. It seemed to meander a bit before it picked up again, drawing me in once again.

Overall, I would recommend this story. It's a quick, fun read, and the characters are nicely developed, which makes them interesting. You look forward to seeing what they'll do next, and who they'll do it with. You want to follow them into their next adventure, which, luckily for us, is already available in the next story in the series, Executive Retention.

3.5 /5 stars

(This was a post published several reviews back-- through an accidental error on my part, it was inadvertently deleted and republished tonight. New book review coming soon!)

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