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...
Paperback, 1st, 300 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Entangled Publishing
Three stars: A fun cozy mystery with a bare naked twist!
Lola Cruz arrives at work on a hot October afternoon. Shortly thereafter, in waltzes three smoking hot women and a man. The next thing she knows, her boss is asking her to come over and turn around so everyone can see her rump. Turns out the couple is looking to hire a detective to help find out who is behind the menacing letters being sent to the Sacramento Royals team dancers. Lola with her spicy latin curves is assigned to be a dancer, despite the fact that she has never been a cheerleader or professional dancer. Nevertheless, she gives it her all and soon finds herself in the locker room before the game putting on skimpy costumes and getting her boobs taped up. She is nervous and embarrassed at the lack of coverage. Little does she know it is about to get worse. One of the girls on the team is suddenly murdered. Lola is plunged into an investigation that leads straight to the nudist colony. Will Lola be willing to bare it all to catch a killer?
What I Liked:
- I picked this up expecting a light, fun cozy mystery and that is exactly what I got. This book features a likeable heroine in Lola Cruz. She is funny and a bit shy and a whole lot of Latin spice.
- This book is filled with funny Spanish dialogue. Lola being of Latin heritage, of course, speaks Spanish as her native language. So the books is full of Spanish interjections. I thought they added a lot of flavor to the book and gave Lola a distinct voice. Never fear, if you don’t speak Spanish, most of the dialogue is easy to figure out and often times the author includes the English translation right behind the Spanish.
- I loved that Lola’s morales and parental teachings are challenged in this book. As a Latina, she was brought up to by a god fearing, good catholic girl. Under the watchful eye of her parents and grandparents, even at twenty nine Lola is afraid to step out of line. When her investigation takes her to the nudist colony she struggles with staying true to her upbringing and beliefs or caving in to conform to the nudist rules in order to solve the case. I like this dilemma and the way she ultimately resolved the issue.
- I grabbed this thinking it would be funny to read about a nudist colony and it was. Lola goes into the nudist colony like any of us would, embarrassed and not wanting to look around at everyone’s junk hanging out there. Granted, this is a life style for some people and I think the author did a fantastic job of conveying that being a nudist does not mean you are a pervert. It is a freeing type of lifestyle for certain people, although it is not for everyone. Watching Lola try to waltz through the nudist camp while maintaining her clothes and dignity is hilarious. I am sure most of us would feel just as awkward in her place. Don’t expect to find a bunch of nudist perverts in this, because that is not the case. Nudists are not perverts, they just live by a different set of rules.
- This book presents a mystery that grows ever thicker as the story moves. Of course, the author presents numerous suspects, but I was left guessing who the killer was until the final pages.
- My favorite aspect of this was that Lola comes from a loving, large hispanic family and they are all involved in her life. I liked meeting all of her family, especially her grandparents. Plus she works at her families Mexican restaurant so they are plenty of descriptions for the delicious Mexican food!
And The Not So Much:
- This story has a huge cast of characters. Lola’s family, the cast of dancers, her fellow co workers at the detective agency and the people at the nudist camp. I honestly at times, had a difficult time keeping track of everyone. I think there may have been too many people going in and out of the story.
- When I picked this up, I didn’t realize that this was the third book in the series. For the most part, it wasn’t an issue reading this, expect when it came to Lola and Jack’s relationship. I am not sure how long the two have been eyeing each other, I am guessing a long time, but it seems that their relationship has numerous hiccups along the way. Even as this story unfolds, it is not evident where there relationship stands. I think that if this is a repeating story line throughout all the books, it would get a little old. I guess I should be grateful that there isn’t a love triangle.
- With any cozy mystery, it seems that a murder is no big deal. Someone dies and it is treated rather lightly as is the case with this book. No one really breaks down and mourns the passing of the deceased, which I find a little bit unbelievable, but hey that is usually the way it goes in this genre.
Bare-Naked Lola is a quick easy light read. Something that would be perfect for a lazy afternoon at the beach. This is an enjoyable book but it lacks a lot of depth, but again it is a cozy mystery so it works well for a book in this genre. If you are in the market for an entertaining read with a sassy Latina girl who learns a few things about a nudist colony you should check this out. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the other books in the series, it is totally not an issue with this book, you can jump right in and enjoy the story and not feel lost.
“I’m a doer, not a cheerer of other doers.”
“My goal was to wrap up this case muy pronto, before anyone found out and saw me getting jiggy with the cheerleaders.”
“Things are rarely as easy as they appear to be.”
“Being a detective meant I was getting pretty good at blithe little fibs as cover stories. I’d be saying a truckload of rosaries when this case was over.”
“The outside and inside can’t be separated, no matter how much I might want them to be. I can’t change who I am.”
“Better to ask for forgiveness than permission.”
A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review. A big thank you to these folks!