by Cynthia Chow
Info on how to win a copy of this book at the end of this review.
The extra pounds caused by a stress-inducing and eating-for-comfort move into a new home, and the accompanying renovation cost her functioning plumbing is forcing behavior science psychologist Liz Cooper to spend her early mornings working out and showering at the Los Angeles Studio City gym owned by her ex-husband Jarret. There she learns from Jarret’s gym co-owner’s Kyle Stanger, that Jarret will be attending the next Dodgers’ game and after-party with Laycee Huber, her former neighbor from Atlanta. The last time Liz saw the trophy wife and former friend was when Liz returned to Laycee the bra Liz discovered underneath her bed. Not surprisingly, that was soon followed by the end of Liz’s marriage to the Major League baseball player.
Liz returned to her hometown of Los Angeles when Jarret was traded from the Braves to the Dodgers, but their fifteen year marriage ended due his continual history of philandering and alcohol abuse. Despite Jarret’s current flirtations and the jealous comments induced by his desire to restart their marriage, Liz finds him to be a better friend than husband and has herself moved on to start dating Nick Garfield, a religion philosophy professor at North Hollywood Community College.
At a Dodgers vs. Cubs baseball game celebrating the birthday of Liz’s father, former LAPD officer Walter Gordon, his and Nick’s Cub mania have them thrilled when Jarret’s accidental stepping on a chalk line breaks a superstition and causes him to tank his pitching game. While Jarret predictably seeks solace with booze and a bedmate, what is shocking is the next day’s discovery that the woman he slept with was murdered while he was out running. More unfortunate for Liz is that the woman was Laycee and Liz had stopped by that morning to pick up the last box of her belongings, which places her high on the suspect list.
Although Liz’s LAPD Robbery-Homicide detective brother fears getting involved and risking problems with Internal Affairs, Nick is brought in by the police as a consultant to decipher the inverted pentagram and other symbols drawn on the body that link to a Satanic murder from 1985. Only when Jarret and his lawyer further implicate Liz do her parents, brother, Nick, and best friend rally to form their own, highly connected and effective, investigative team.
It would seem that there is no American sport which embraces omens and superstitions like that of baseball, and the author takes full advantage to exploit the fun and fascinating details. Just as intriguing are the many aspects of Satanism and cultism that have been linked to crimes and are expertly explored and explained in a manner which seamlessly blends into the plot.
Liz is an extremely rational therapist with an outrageous mother who believes in the supernatural and still wants Liz to reunite with and forgive Jarret for his “innocent” mistakes. Liz has managed to accept, although not embrace, the existence of alternate beliefs that Nick studies and this has allowed her to expand her world immensely.
Laycee sparks the pain of betrayal and distrust and causes a bit of a stumbling block in Liz’s relationship with Nick when he meets up with the fiancé who faked an engagement with him to escape a patriarchal household and give her permission to come to the States. However, by relying on her investigative team and study of body language Liz will no doubt succeed in the third of a series that combines elements of romance, paranormal and mystery. Although the culprit may be identified early on, the author mixes in enough red herrings and complications to create doubt and maintain a suspenseful thread throughout this highly entertaining read.
Check out KRL’s review of the previous book in this series Bruja Brouhaha.
To enter to win a copy of Hex On The Ex, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, with the subject line “Hex”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 8, 2013. U.S. residents only.
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