Format: ARC (NetGalley)
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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.
BARE-NAKED LOLA is a fun girly murder mystery by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez. Lola Cruz's voice is beguiling as she tells us the story peppered with Spanish exclamations like Dios Mio! and Hija de la chingada! interspersed with her thoughts and observations which I find very amusing. Aside from the case, Lola's crazy Latin family is a scene-stealer with her Abeula pressuring her for grandkids and an overbearing older father and brother who'd rather have her bus tables in their family owned restaurant than pursue her career as a P.I.
Dios Mio! If I wasn't careful, Jack's charm would wear me down and my grandmother would be saying rosaries to save my heathen, wanton soul. Again.Reading Lola going undercover as she navigate the vapid and competitive world of being a Royal Courtside Dancer by pretending she's one of then was funny. It's when they hit the local nudist resort that things went on a snail pace for me. I found all the chatter about self confidence and convincing a hesitant Lola to bare all without inhibitions before dipping into the hot tub jacuzzi a little excessive, eating up several pages of the story. Aside from Lola, the other characters were predictable and flat or it could also be that Lola's personality was too big that there's no space left for the other characters to be noticed.
The romance is tepid but the lack of didn't distract me from still enjoying the story as Lola's adventures more than made up for it. I like that Lola is cautious about her relationship with Jack especially since he is still caught up in a messy tangle with his ex. And although I haven't read the previous two books, I didn't feel lost nor was it a challenge to get up to speed with the story because the plot concentrated on Lola's case and MBRamirez supplied bits and pieces of past events here and there throughout the story. At 300 pages, BARE-NAKED LOLA is a recommended summer read, it's laid back with enough humor to keep you turning the pages.