A Perilous Pal (A Friend for Hire Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Tennessee
Berkley (July 5, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 0593334787
ISBN-13 : 978-0593334782
Kindle ASIN : B09HTFGL17
Entrepreneur Emma Westlake’s new business is booming until her latest client is arrested for murder in this new Friend for Hire Mystery by USA Today bestselling author Laura Bradford.
Emma Westlake, proprietor of A Friend for Hire, finds a heart-wrenching email from a prospective client in her inbox. The email is from Kim Felder, a woman struggling with empty-nest syndrome and an out-of-left-field divorce. Determined to help get Kim in a better headspace, Emma suggests she draft a bucket list of things she has always wanted to do in life but has put off in favor of taking care of everyone else.
Together, they fill that list with fun baking classes, traveling, and dancing in the middle of the street for no reason. Kim also adds in some hilarious items about getting even with her ex. But all laughter ends when Kim’s ex winds up dead via one of the ideas Kim proposed. Now, Kim is Deputy Jack Riordan’s lone suspect in a murder Emma knows she did not commit. Emma will have to put her budding relationship with the deputy on the line to corner a cunning killer.
Emma Westlake’s Friend for Hire business is growing. Her newest client Kim Felder is struggling after her husband divorced her for a younger woman. She is also dealing with empty next syndrome as both of her children are now out on their own. Her family was her whole life and she catered to their every need. She is hoping Emma can help her find a new direction for her life. To help Emma asks Kim to come up with a bucket list . . . things she has always wanted to do but couldn’t because she was taking care of her family. They come up with things like visiting an unusual bakery in Ohio and baking classes. Kim also lists some crazy ideas to get even with her ex. So when the man is killed in a way that was on Kim’s list Deputy Jack Riordan feels he has caught the killer. Emma doesn’t buy that for one second and she going to prove it and even if that means putting her new relationship with Jack on hold.
Look at that face on the cover, it just steals my heart.
All the wonderful characters we met in A Plus One for Murder are back and again Dottie is a force of nature when it comes to getting what she wants. She wants to be an amateur sleuth like all the ladies in the cozy mysteries she reads. She pushes Emma hard to investigate and Stephanie is happy to help as well. Away from the murder, Emma takes Stephanie to visit John and Andy and tries to play the part of matchmaker. Stephanie also got to meet Big Max who also had a connection with Kim. Emma and Jack’s relationship hits a bump in the road but a little boy and a dog set things back on track just by playing together. Scout is such a great dog and Tommy loves him so much. All the core characters Ms. Bradford has created are engaging and continue to grow within the pages of this book.
The mystery was very well-plotted with twists, turns, and red herrings. Emma’s belief in Kim’s innocence did not waiver. I thought I had the killer figured out but then there was a fantastic twist. I really enjoyed the way the ending played out. It gave me some good feels. Emma may be a reluctant sleuth but she is solving the cases. Dottie is a great sounding board even if she is pretty pushy at times.
I love the theme of this series but Emma is going to need to find a constant supply of new clients because she becomes such a good friend to her current ones. It going to be hard to continue to charge them indefinitely. Emma is already feeling guilty so I am very interested in seeing how the author addresses this issue.
A Perilous Pal is an excellent addition to this series. The characters are genuine, the mystery is top-notch, and the theme is unique. The final chapter has me so excited for the third book in this series.
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About the Author
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”