Lauren Laurano #4 & #5 [Book Review]

There are few things more satisfying for me as a reader than finishing a series. I did just that by reading not one, but two books in a series I started a while back based on a lesbian private investigator set in 1990s New York City. I ended up reading the last two books over the Memorial Day weekend and loved them!

I started reading and reviewing the series with the first book, Everything You Have Is Mine, in March of 2016. I liked it, so I moved on to I’ll Be Leaving You Always. It took me a while to read – over a month – but I finally finished it in September of last year.

My Sweet Untraceable You, the third in the five-book series, had been my favorite book so far; I read it over two days in February.

That’s why I was keen to get back to the series.

music journey

Book Descriptions

Let’s Face the Music and Die:

Witty, hip, pretty, and gay, Lauren Laurano isn’t your typical private detective. She shares an apartment with Kip, her longtime lover, in New York’s Greenwich Village, where they are surrounded by a close-knit group of friends. But Lauren and Kip’s relationship has hit a rough patch, and when Kip goes out of town for a month-long conference, Lauren’s life gets complicated by a new case, a new love interest, and a menace from her past. Lauren’s friend Elissa is in trouble. Her elderly aunt has been found brutally stabbed to death, and much to Elissa’s dismay, the police suspect she’s the killer. Elissa’s situation looks dire: she’s without an alibi and in line to inherit a large sum of money. Undaunted, Lauren takes the case, using her unique combination of street-savvy detecting and electronic know-how to find the real killer. Tapping into the Internet for clues, Lauren gets more than she bargained for. First on-line, then in person, she meets Alex, a young woman to whom she is powerfully attracted. As the investigation grows more complex, Lauren becomes more and more distracted by thoughts of Alex and guilt about Kip. And just as Lauren thinks she has her hands full, one of her dearest friends is hospitalized and Lauren begins receiving death threats herself.

Gonna Take a Homicidal Journey:

Greenwich Village private investigator Lauren Laurano feels like a fish out of water in the Long Island countryside, but she is taking some R&R from big-city crime to please her lover. But when Lauren is hired to investigate a suspicious suicide, the town’s prominent citizens close ranks–and the remote vacation spot begins to look less charming and more lethal. Anyone who suggests there is trouble in paradise quickly turns up dead. And Lauren may be next on the list of casualties. . . .

My Rating

It took me a while to warm up to Lauren Laurano’s voice. The first book almost put me off, because her voice is so strong, but my wife insisted I keep going, promising that I would grow fond of it.

I wasn’t convinced, but I trust my wife, so I kept on. The second book was a little better, and the third book was really good.

By the time I was three books in, I really had grown fond of Lauren’s distinctive voice. She’s not a perfect character, but that’s what makes her so realistic. It’s one of the reasons I kept this series on my radar to finish, and why I decided to tackle it over a long weekend.

I’m so glad I did.

Let’s Face the Music and Die

This book was great. I read it over two days and loved it. There are three storylines running at the same time:

  1. The mystery of Lauren’s friend’s murdered aunt is obviously the major story. I wasn’t surprised by the ‘who dun it’, but it was enjoyable to see how Lauren comes to the conclusion herself.
  2. Lauren’s relationship with her long-time partner is tested by feelings she starts having for a woman she re-meets over the internet. It’s important to note that these books were written in the ’90s, so internet love affairs weren’t yet de rigeur. I was absolutely horrified as I watched Lauren be swayed by the attentions of another woman.
  3. In the first book, we learn that Lauren became a PI because of a terrible experience earlier in life in which she was brutalized by criminals and left for dead. In this book, the reality of one of the men being released from prison comes to a head.

This doesn’t even include the shooting, which I won’t spoil for you here. It was a page-turner, to be sure.

Gonna Take a Homicidal Journey

I read this book in one sitting. That’s how quickly I was turning pages, how eager I was to find out how her whole story would end up.

This book was different because it didn’t take place in NYC. It begins when Lauren, her partner, and their friends are on vacation.

Lauren and Kip are supposed to be taking some time off from their lives to work on their relationship, but when Lauren is hired to investigate a shady death in the small town in which her friends have just bought a summer home, things get sticky.

I have to admit I was surprised when all the loose ends were tied. I had made a few connections, but the extent of it all was a mystery to me until the very end. As far as Lauren’s life, well, you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out how it all ends up.

I give these books each four of five stars. They’re not the kind of mysteries that leave you shaking your head at the boggling end, but they’re great page-turners that give insight into a time when almost no one took professional women seriously.

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Check out all the other books I’ve reviewed in the last few years on my book review master list.

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