Book Reviews

Book Review: Trouble in Paradise by Deborah Brown – Just Don’t

This is the third book in a series about Madison Westin. She inherited her aunt’s home and small cottage colony in the Florida Keys. It’s really a variation on Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum saga, complete with quirky characters and Madison getting over her head in danger. The difference is, Stephanie’s crazy antics at least make some sense. The third book really takes a dip from the last two as well.

Madison was inspired to get her private investigator’s license after the last two adventures. When a local fisherman is washed up deceased, she decides to put her skills to the test. The on;y problem is, she really has no skills. She teams up with her friend and current housemate, Fabiana and they are off on a series of adventures that put them in danger, seemingly every time they leave the house.

Part of the problem is that Madison does not seem to be actually doing anything that helps solve the mystery. She’s just sort of going where her life takes her and clues or circumstances lead her to unravel the mystery. There’s no real active investigating on her part. In fact, I’d say she solved the mystery despite herself. She rarely stands up for herself, which leads to problems at the cottages as the tenants there. Ove has moved in an abusive girlfriend who hates Madison and she continually takes the abuse. The other ones are mere squatters, and yet she lets them conduct illegal activity and does nothing to stop them.

It also seems like every character except Madison’s family has some sort of silly name. From “Apple” to “Creole,” “Brick” “Spoon” and more, it feels like the author went looking for the craziest names she could find. They didn’t resonate, either. Within a few pages, I’d forgotten the background that went along with the name because there is no depth to any of them. I couldn’t remember if “Brick” had done something or if that was “Spoon.”

As I said, the central character of Madison is trying to establish herself as a private investigator, but she really doesn’t do much and resists the help of others in the community who actually could help her become a better investigator. This is not her trying to learn as she goes along. She pairs up with Fab (Fabiana) a few times, but even then it’s not like Fab is teaching her anything. Serious investigations seem to be treated as a lark by the two of them.

Trouble in Paradise is available on Kindle Unlimited. That’s the only reason I’ll continue with the series at this point. If it doesn’t get any better than this, I won’t be buying any of Deborah Brown’s books. There are so many good writers out there, I can’t recommend this, even as light summer reading.

Previous book in the series:

4 replies »

  1. I applaud your commitment to reading and reviewing a series by an author that writes subpar and derivative stuff, even if you do so because it’s free (on Kindle Unlimited, anyway). You’re definitely made of sterner stuff than I!