Ten years ago, Summer Butler was television’s most popular teenage sleuth. Since then, she’s hit—what gossip sites just love to call—the gutter. Nearly bankrupt, betrayed, estranged from her greedy mother, and just about unemployable, she’s coaxed into that desperate haven for has-beens: reality TV.
Winging it as a faux PI, she’ll solve off-the-cuff mysteries in her hometown of Sweet Briar, Alabama. For added drama, there’s police chief Luke Montgomery, inconveniently Summer’s first and only love.
It’s when Summer stumbles upon a very real corpse that Darling Investigations takes an unexpected twist. The growing list of suspects is a big draw to viewers, but the reality is that Summer doesn’t know whom she can trust. Someone has written this killer new scene especially for her, and unless Summer gives the role everything she’s got, it could be her last… (Synopsis from Amazon)
My thoughts....4 stars
A lot of my reads lately have been fairly heavy and dark, which is no problem. However, sometimes I want something lighter. But lighter doesn’t mean skimping on a believable premise, relatable characters, interesting locale, and a strong solid mystery. The atmosphere is the only difference. DEADLY SUMMER fits all the criteria perfectly.
Imagine being washed up before you’re 30. Summer Butler is a unicorn in Tinseltown, an honest to goodness good girl. She’s been in a bit of bind lately thanks to her career screeching to a halt and her mom absconding with her money. To add to her woes the balloon payment on the ancestral farm is coming due. What’s a girl to do? Sign on to do a reality show, that’s what.
Trading on her teen detective character from Gotcha!, Summer is now a genuine licensed PI with made to order cases to investigate for the cameras. One big problem though, Summer wants it to be real, not the scripted horsefeather’s Lauren keeps pushing at her.
Summer’s return to her small Southern hometown of Sweet Briar, Alabama rattles more than one cage. Luke Montgomery, current Chief of Police, is the boy left behind. She’s not high on Meemaw’s list, but is excited to see her cousins Dixie, here assistant at the agency (past scandal there) and Teddy. Let’s not forget mommy darling, now a pageant trainer living comfortably in a huge home built with Summer’s money.
When one of Summer’s faux cases leads to a genuine murder mystery things get really real. Will she solve the mystery or become another victim? Will Summer win out over Lauren and make her reality show just that in truth? Will Summer and Meemaw reconcile? Can she save the family farm? These questions and more can only be answered if you read DEADLY SUMMER.
If you’re looking for a lighter atmosphere with all the bite of the darker mysteries I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with DEADLY SUMMER.