Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: Murder, Curlers, and Cream (Valentine Beaumont #1) by Arlene McFarlane

Murder, Curlers, and Cream (Valentine Beaumont #1)

32706740Valentine Beaumont is a beautician with a problem. Not only has she got a meddling mother, a wacky staff, and a dying business, but now she’s got a dead client who was strangled while awaiting her facial. 

With business the way it is, combing through this mystery may be the only way to save her salon. Until a second murder, an explosion, a kidnapping, death threats, and the hard-nosed Detective Romero complicate things. But Valentine will do anything to untangle the crime. That’s if she can keep her tools of the trade in her bag, keep herself alive, and avoid falling for the tough detective.

In the end, how hard can that be?

My Take:
Valentine Beaumont owns a beautician salon in the small town of Reuland Massachusetts, a town where practically nothing happens. That is, if you don't count the dead socialite found in her salon, strangled while awaiting her facial.

What with a new salon down the street trying to steal customers, and her rent coming due, solving the murder may be the only way she can save her salon. Until a second murder, a kidnapping, death threats, a fire bomb, and the handsome and hard-nosed detective, Michael Romero, complicate things. 

Nothing seems to deter Valentine from her quest to solve the murder, that is, if she can stay alive and prevent herself from falling for the tough detective.


Drug Content:
PG - Some drinking occurs, and one character is shedding a past life in the drug trade. 

PG - There are several murders, one by strangulation, one by gunshot. There are a couple stabbings with beauty supplies, and a bloody accident with a straight razor. There are a couple fires, and some eyelashes get singed. Nothing graphic.

PG - There are a scattering of curse words in the book, no F-bombs.

Adult Content:
PG-13 - There are multiple references to a past incident where the main character defeated a thug by crushing his... um... never mind, in a curling rod. There are several affairs that occur. One girl wears a bikini that is more string than clothing. There are multiple semi-steamy encounters. Several scenes where a man's abs are exposed and admired, one where a female character is wearing a semi-transparent top. Men ogle women, women admire men. One scene where a lady had to take a cold shower to calm down... No sex, not even a passionate kiss. But plenty of interest.

Christian content:
A little bit. Valentine is a church attender. She prays. God doesn't play a major role onstage or off in this one, but her faith seems real enough. Family loyalty, public service, determination, benefit of the doubt, vindication, play major roles in this work.

Final analysis:
Valentine is an incredibly likable semi-ditsy three-dimensional character. She's a brick. Stalwart and faithful to her friends to the end, she is very realistically painted on the canvas of this romantic comedy. I was laughing out loud in many places. The crash-and-burn blind dates, the disastrous incompetent assistant. The settings, action, and drama in the book were so well-done that I felt more like I was watching a movie than reading a novel.

Anyone who's ever gotten a bad haircut, a ruined perm, worked in a salon, or loves mystery or romance would probably enjoy this one. I'd recommend it for older teen to adult. Solid characters, fast-paced, immersive world-building, spicy clean romance. Five Stars!

About the Author:
Arlene McFarlaneArlene McFarlane is the author of the Murder, Curlers series. Previously an aesthetician, hairstylist, and owner of a full-service salon, Arlene now writes full time. When she’s not making up stories, or being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, cat-mom, or makeover artist, you’ll find her making music on the piano.

Arlene is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Toronto Romance Writers, SOWG, and the Golden Network. She’s won and placed in over 30 contests, including twice in the Golden Heart and twice in the Daphne du Maurier. 

Arlene lives with her family in Canada.

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