Only a mystery writer would take a reality show, throw in an ex-cop looking to get over a broken heart, and then have her wonder, are the bachelors looking for love, money or murder? Even readers who don't care for reality shows might appreciate Diana Orgain's take on them in the first Love Or Money mystery, A First Date with Death.
After Georgia Thornton was fired from her job as a public information officer with the San Francisco Police Department, and her fiance left her standing at the altar, her best friend, Becca swoops in to offer her a different reality. Quite different. Becca, assistant producer of the show Love or Money, offers her the opportunity to star opposite ten eligible bachelors. Georgia gets to pick one man, hoping for love. If she picks a man who went on the show for money, he walks away with all of it. If she picks a man who went on looking for love, they split the prize money and an exotic vacation. But, before even the first date, bungee jumping, is over, one of the bachelors is critically injured when his gear fails. The "accident" doesn't smell right to ex-cop Georgia. Can it get any worse?
It certainly can. Georgia's ex, the man who left her at the altar, shows up to take the place of the missing bachelor. She knows Paul is undercover, investigating the death, but she's still not happy to have him on the show. And, then another bachelor dies. Georgia's afraid she might be a target. And, she certainly doesn't want the last bachelor standing to be a killer.
A First Date with Death is a fun romp through reality show hell. Georgia suffers with her wardrobe, the early hours, a producer who seems cruel, Paul's presence, and her own fears. At times, she comes across as a little hysterical for an ex-cop, but the reader still roots for her to have a happy ending. And, there's as much emphasis on the men and the budding romance as there is on the mystery.
A First Date with Death launches a new series, and it will be interesting to see where Diana Orgain goes with it. This one is a tongue-in-cheek look at reality shows that aren't what they appear to be. Love or money or murder?
Diana Orgain's website is www.dianaorgain.com
A First Date with Death by Diana Orgain. Berkley Prime Crime. 2015. ISBN 9780425271681 (paperback), 297p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.