Tuesday, May 21

Review: The Temporary Detective by Joanne Lessner

This is the first book in the Isobel Spice Series by Joanne Sydney Lessner.  We meet Isobel Spice, aspiring actress during a job interview at the temp agency Temp Zone, as Isobel is trying to convince recruiter James Cooke to give her a shot.  Isobel is fresh out of college from the state of Wisconsin, having only been in New York for about a week and has had absolutely no luck signing on with a temp agency thus far.  All the good ones want experienced workers, but without an actual job she is never going to get any experience.  That is until she convinces James Cooke, newly hired recruiter at Temp Zone to give her a chance.

Isobel gets what should have been a 1/2 day job at InterBank Switzerland - just some phones and light typing.  It should have been easy, except that Isobel finds one of the secretaries murdered in the bathroom during an emergency drill.  Now Isobel is staying on and finding more and more trouble in the Procurement Support department for InterBank Switzerland. She is not sure who to trust, but she knows that things aren't adding up.  And despite numerous warning from friends, she just can't let things go.  Isobel has a burning curiosity to find out exactly why the murder happened.

As Isobel's recruiter, James Cooke and finds himself worried about the mess Isobel seems to have gotten involved in.  But James has his own problems to deal with as well.  As a recovering alcoholic Columbia University drop-out black male, James feels that his opportunities are limited, both career wise and relationship wise.  His girlfriend Jayla is smothering him by pushing him to fit into a role that James is not sure that he is ready for - that of husband and provider.  But he's not sure how or even if he should, let her go. She is also extremely jealous and suspicious of any woman James talks to. James is uncertain of how to handle things with Jayla, but he can't help but do what he can to assist Isobel and make sure that she is safe.

The story is told from the varying view points of Isobel and James.  There seems like there might, some day, far, far in the future be some hint of romantic leanings.  But it is very vague and neither is at a point of admitting those kinds of feelings to themselves, let alone each other.  However, I enjoyed the hints of tension that promise to develop in their relationship.

I really enjoyed Isobel's friendships and how she interacts with the world.  Especially with her new friends Delphi and Sunil.  The brief appearance of her brother Percival was adorable and I can't wait to see more of him.  James also had some interesting relationships and seeing the juxtaposition of how different James and Isobel's lives were really added a very nice dimension to this story.  The pacing was good and the twists and turns were quite awesome.  I was really surprised a couple different times.  This book was a 4 star Goodreads read.

Phones, light typing…and murder.

Think breaking into show business is hard? Try landing a temp job without office skills. That’s the challenge facing aspiring actress Isobel Spice when she arrives in New York City, fresh out of college and deficient in PowerPoint. After being rejected by seven temp agencies for her lack of experience, Isobel sweet-talks recruiter James Cooke into letting her cover a last-minute vacancy at a bank. New to his own job, and recently sober, James takes a chance on Isobel, despite his suspicion that she’s a trouble-magnet. His misgivings are borne out by lunchtime, when she stumbles across a dead secretary in a bathroom stall. With her fingerprints on the murder weapon, Isobel sets out to prove her innocence by investigating the crime herself. While learning to juggle phone lines and auditions, she discovers an untapped talent for detective work—a qualification few other office temps, let alone actresses, can claim.

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