Format Read: ebook provided by publisher for review
Length: 300 Pages
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Genre: Mystery with Romantic Elements
Formats Available: Paperback
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, The Book Depository, Powell’s
Going undercover is second nature for Private Investigator Lola Cruz, but she’s out of her league when the case of a murdered Royals Courtside Dancer leads her to a local nudist resort. Parading around the sidelines of Sacramento’s professional basketball scene in a barely-there cheerleading outfit is one thing—but parading around in nothing but smile? If she has any chance of hiding this from her traditional family and on-again/off-again boyfriend Jack, she’s going to have a lot more than her duct tape bra and killer dance moves to keep under wraps….
Delores “Lola” Cruz has no idea what she is in for when she walks into Camancho & Associates, the small Sacramento investigative firm where she is the junior private investigator. Lola’s boss Manny Camancho, is chatting with beautiful woman with a gazelle like body, and there are two other equally gorgeous silent nubile females sitting at the office conference table. As it turns out, the gazelle is married to the Lance Wolfe, the owner Courtside Dancers and said gazelle, Victoria, is the manager. The team has celebrity status thanks to the girls previous involvement in their own reality TV show. It seems the cheerleaders have been receiving disturbing anonymous notes that have frightened them to the point where one of the dancers has been scared off. Lance has hired Camancho & Associates to discover who is messing with the girls and because Lola is “curvy but athletic and fit” she is assigned to work undercover as one of the Courtside Dancers.
Bare Naked Lola is a fun ride! The story is told in the first person and narrated by it’s savvy, smart and Latino heroine as she executes her plan (or lack of it) to solve Operation: Dance. Lola suffers through grueling cheerleading practices, is given the cold shoulder by her “teammates” and must come to terms with the indignity of dancing wearing next to nothing costumes in front of stadiums full of fans (not to mention the games are televised). She is however determined to prove herself and do what it takes to get the job done. The plot thickens when Lola finds herself on the hunt for a killer as one of the dancers is brutally murdered. The clues lead Lola to a nudist resort!
Lola definitely walks a tightrope. She loves her investigative work and painstakingly turns over every stone in her quest to solve a case. She isn’t afraid to put herself at risk—she has a black belt in martial arts after all! However, Lola has very strong moral values ingrained from her upbringing in a close knit Catholic Hispanic family. She is not a prude by any means but stripping down to her birthday suite to infiltrate a nudist resort? There must be some other way? Isn’t there? Hijinks ensue, there are plenty of laughs to be had as Lola is confronted with large number of nude bodies of all shapes and sizes. But never fear, our heroine is very resourceful!
The humor is tempered with suspense as Lola guides us through a tangled web of deceit and villainy. Melissa Bourbon Ramirez incorporates plenty of intrigue into her narrative and there are a couple of surprising plot twists in store.
Lola as another life and still works part-time in her family’s busy Mexican restaurant, she walks on eggshells with her protective family concerning her crazy and sometimes dangerous activities. In addition, she deals with plenty of angst concerning newspaper columnist Jack Callaghan, a man she has been attracted to since her school days. Bare Naked Lola has very light romantic elements but the sexual tension certainly sizzles between these two which is amplified by considerable conflict arising from Jack’s non-Mexican heritage (which doesn’t sit well with her family) and some rather annoying baggage he can’t seem to get rid of. What I really liked about the relationship development in this story is that while yes, Jack wants to be Lola’s lover, but considers himself her partner. He is protective but but empowers her and assists in piecing together a complex puzzle uncovering some extremely nefarious activities, an intricate cover-up and murder.
I have to talk about the enigmatic Manny, who is a man of few words with a sensual commanding presence. Lola considers him her mentor, and while their relationship is purely professional as a reader I couldn’t help but feel there is an underlying attraction there, particularly on Manny’s part. There is plenty of tension between Jack and Lola’s boss, the former has no intention of letting the later poach on his territory so to speak. Lol
If you enjoy a good mystery with a comedic touch, made special by a feisty endearing heroine and a coterie of memorable supporting characters, you may like to give Bare Naked Lola a try. This is the third novel in Bourbon Ramirez’ Lola Cruz mystery series but can be read as a standalone with no difficulty. I’m looking forward to finding out where the author takes Lola, Jack, and….Manny next!
I give Bare Naked Lola 4 Stars
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