From the female silhouette, is it a James Bond novel? No. From the title, is it a raunchy romance novel? Also no. Readers may not know what they are getting into upon picking up the first in the Madison Cruz Mystery series by Lucy Carol; however, they may very well be pleasantly surprised by the story found within its pages. Hot Scheming Mess is far from being a mess: Carol’s story could be best described as mysterious, entertaining, funny, random, odd, fast-paced, and down-to-earth, just to name a few of its traits.
Madison Cruz is a young woman just trying to get by in life. She struggles to find oddball jobs as an actress, she wishes to know more about a man who refuses to open up to her, and her relationship with her FBI mother is virtually non-existent. Things couldn’t possibly get more complicated in her life until she must hide evidence for her grandfather. Evidence of what and hiding it from who are questions Madison would love to have answered as she runs from pursuing shadows through wrestling gigs and zombie conventions.
Carol’s writing style is one any reader can become lost in. Her sentences flow incredibly smoothly together and she keeps the story moving at a rather quick pace while still including a good amount of detail to paint pictures within the minds of her readers. The detail can become somewhat repetitive at times (mainly whenever Madison talks about her relationship with her mother or her non-existent relationship with her “boyfriend”), but it does not distract the reader from the story.
The story itself, as aforementioned, has many good traits. The mystery is there throughout most of the book, the reader just as lost in the confusion Madison is caught up in and it will take readers a while to figure out the mystery for themselves. The entertainment and down-to-earth traits come from most of the characters, Carol giving each of her characters separate and realistic personalities, but these traits mainly come from the character of Madison. Madison is an actress struggling to find a job and will take any gig no matter how ridiculous, she is unsure of what she is doing most of the time and just rolls with what life throws at her, she is a young woman who wants to grow up, yet still wants to be a child… she is a prime example of a young adult trying to find her (or even his) place in the world.
What really make the story are the random events that happen along Madison’s path to solving the mystery. The situations Madison finds herself in are ones readers could not really imagine characters finding themselves in. And yet, Madison manages to find herself in predicaments such as being a distraction in a fake wrestling match, a zombie at a zombie convention, a fairy princess for a birthday party, and a singing telegram at a funeral. More often than not, other characters find themselves being dragged along to partake in the “fun.” Just the unpredictability of these occurrences and the complete randomness that follow prove to be incredibly entertaining for the readers.
Carol has a talent for writing stories and a real knack for entertaining readers. Hot Scheming Mess is only the first in her mystery series and it will prove to be surprisingly entertaining for any reader who picks it up. It offers a fun, fast-paced mystery with realistic characters, an engaging story, and a bunch of randomness sprinkled on top. It does not contain a suave British secret agent to solve the mystery nor a beautiful seductress who makes passionate love to a different suitor each evening. This story is about a young woman who has no idea what is going on, has no idea how to solve the mystery, and who has a very difficult time finding a man to even spend an evening with. If someone believes his or her life is a mess, it may not compare to the “hot scheming mess” Carol’s character has gotten herself into.