New Release Review: Toxic by Carol Ericson

ToxicToxic by Carol Ericson
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: November 3, 2014
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Harlequin

Synopsis from Goodreads: “That’s the way I like it – hot and wet.”

Not something I’d typically say in a job interview, but it just kind of slipped out. I blame Ronnie Tatethe woman is sin in stilettos. As bosses go, the sexy ex-showgirl is way more appealing than the Miami billionaire who hired me to find his missing mistress.

The girl’s trail ends at Ronnie’s bayside bar, so I’ve got to get close to the people there to find out more. And I plan to get real close to Ronnie in particular. She’s hiding plentylike why she’s clinging to this dump her late husband left her, and why her employees keep disappearing. If I have to expose more than just Ronnie’s secrets, so much the better.

Slinging drinks isn’t private investigator J. P. McCoy’s usual MO. But nothing is what it seems in this sultry noir tale of blackmail, murder, sex and scandal.

Angie’s Review – 2 Skulls – D

Toxic kicks off the new imprint from Harlequin called Harlequin Intrigue Noir.

I was on the fence as to how to rate this book, but I ended up going with two skulls. Here’s why—this story is a great ‘bare bones’ of a book. There’s a lot of sex going on, a double homicide plaguing the town, and a blackmail scam. Unfortunately, it was too ambitious for the word count. None of these plot points were ever fleshed out.

There’s no development here and very little history of the characters. J.P., for example lost his job as a cop in Chicago because he was ‘disgraced.’ This is an interesting tidbit about one of the main characters, but that’s all it was. It never went on to describe how he was disgraced, if he fought to keep his job, or if he’d been blackballed from having a career in law enforcement. This felt like a missed opportunity that really could have added some depth to his character.

Ronnie was a former Las Vegas showgirl who married a wealthy man for her own reasons, and she does some questionable things for money. Without more information about her character, it was very hard to like her in spite of the decisions she made.

As I mentioned before, the plot of this story was very interesting—a woman whose husband dies is being blackmailed into keeping his bar open with no idea as to why she is doing it, and dead bodies are piling up all around her. While the premise is intriguing, the whodunit was obvious from the get-go.

I couldn’t buy the ‘insane attraction that felt like so much more’ on either character’s parts, and I never could figure out why Ronnie wasn’t doing some sleuthing of her own to figure out who was blackmailing her into keeping the bar open.

Overall, this book was a miss for me.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Thank you to HARLEQUIN and Netgalley for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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