Friday, February 3, 2012

The Look of Love by Mary Jane Clark

book cover

The Look of Love
by Mary Jane Clark

ISBN-13: 9780061995569
Hardcover: 340 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Released: January 17, 2012

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from the Cover:
Piper Donovan accepts when the owner of Elysium, an exclusive spa and plastic surgery center, offers her an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to create a dazzling and unique wedding cake.

The ultra-luxurious spa caters to the rich and famous in need of a little “refreshing”—a nip here, a tuck there, a little Botox, a little detox. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, Elysium seems picture-perfect: the grounds, the staff, even the guests. But no sooner does Piper arrive than a guest is brutally murdered in one of the private bungalows. Someone, it seems, wants to make sure Elysium’s beautiful director, Jillian Abernathy, never gets to walk down the aisle. Piper soon discovers that beneath the glamorous surface of this idyllic oasis lies an ugly truth—and a cold-blooded plan for murder.

My Review:
The Look of Love is a very fast-paced mystery/suspense novel. This book is the second in the series. You don't need to read the first book to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the whodunit of the first mystery. However, the under-developed romance of the first book was even sketchier in this novel. If the second novel was all you had to go on, then the guy didn't even come across as desirable.

Like the first novel, Piper is curious about who is murdering people, but she doesn't snoop around to find out who the murderer is. She is briefly involved in trying to expose a staff member who is molesting female guests, but she's mainly focused on making the cake and getting an acting job. Piper was one of a number of main characters, and the story frequently switched between the different point-of-view characters.

The author provided plenty of people with a motive and opportunity for the murder. You could guess from the clues, but I felt that whodunit's "normal" thoughts didn't fit with some of the "in the killer's head" thoughts we're given. The first novel proves that the author could have had the two "thought" sets line up and still not give away whodunit.

The details about cake decoration, the resort, the nunnery, and the acting business were interesting. The suspense was created by the physical danger to the characters.

I found Piper engaging and enjoyable to read about, but most of the characters came across rather simplistically: the angry father, the snoopy reporter, and so on, so some parts of the ending (where several characters suddenly change how they've been behaving) seemed abrupt.

One of the characters was a nun, so the Catholic faith is portrayed though I wouldn't call this a "religious" novel. However, the novel did tend to drop tidbits of advice about true beauty and being satisfied with how you look. There was a minor amount of explicit bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I enjoyed this novel (though I liked the first one better), and I'd recommend it.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read and excerpt using Google Preview.


Teena in Toronto said...

I just finished it and enjoyed it :)

Debbie said...

Teena, Glad to hear you did. Thanks for taking the time to comment.