Whipping Boy is the first book (a longer novella rather than a full sized book) in a new romantic suspense mystery series by the author Katherine Tomlinson. It focuses on Lark Riordan, a crime specialist who doesn’t have the cleanest job in the world (the book starts with a scene where Lark is digging in a dumpster where some small murdered kids were thrown), who now is put in a tough situation when the next crime hits closer to home than she would have liked. She has to examine the scene where one of her neighbors, Jimmy, was brutally murdered.
There are lots of suspects to check out, and her step brother (who is also the love of her life) has the job of working through the list to find the culprit. Lark does her part, and this starts a fun, fast paced mystery story that is very easy to read and get engaged in. I enjoyed flipping the pages to see what comes next.
The story is set in Los Angeles, and I really had a good introduction to the world of Hollywood stars (Lark’s father being one of the nominees for the next Oscar) and star wannabees, who are struggling day in day out to make ends meet while dreaming about that big career that will make them rich and famous.
The crime story itself was interesting to follow and while the killer was actually mentioned in passing by as a possible suspect, it did come as a surprise in the end. I was betting on someone else in fact.
Lark really grew on me as the time passed by. I had more than one chuckle at her way to telling things the way they are, in a quirky and witty way with a play on words that were quite fitting. She doesn’t care much for the whole Hollywood drama, which sadly pulls her in every day since she is literally surrounded by “those” folks, but she’s learned to deal with it and ignore it as much as she can.
I really enjoyed reading about her love affair with her step brother (no real family blood relationship, and they werne’t even raised together) and I can see where something like this might be tabu in some circles. No wonder they have to hide their love for each other – a love that is stronger every day. Both tried to find other dates over the years, ignoring each other, but always ended up back together as if by force of fate.
I’m actually looking forward to the second book in the series to follow up with the couple, who simply can’t stay apart from each other.
Overall it is a great first in a new series that has promise to deliver a fun and engaging read. While the book is considered a novella, it was a well fleshed out story with a great start and a coming to circle ending, so I never had the feeling that I was reading a short story. The characters were well developed, and the story entertaining. If I have a chance, I will read the second book in the series as well.
To learn more about Whipping Boy or get the book, head over to Amazon, the novel is also available on Kindle.