Book Review: Laina Turner’s Stilettos & Scoundrels

Posted December 11, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Laina Turner’s Stilettos & Scoundrels

Stilettos & Scoundrels


Laina Turner

cozy mystery that was published by Five Seas Ink on March 21, 2010 and has 392 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

First in the Presley Thurman Mystery series revolving around an idiot woman I would prefer to see die. Gee, Kath, tell us what you really think…

My Take

Omigod, the woman is oblivious…what am I saying? She’s not a woman, she’s still an immature girl who has got so much growing up to do yet. At age 33. Her whining about having to actually listen to Brian is a major indicator. Grow some balls, girl. She’s overly obsessed with accessorizing and, yeah, I know a lot of other books have had characters who are too focused on shallow material things. However they’ve done it well. I suspect Turner is channeling Sex and the City. It’s not working.

Pres sees nothing wrong with pushing, pushing, pushing at everyone else to talk about their issues, but the first two sentences about her own issues has her running for the door. And being upset that they would have the nerve to push! Oooh. Gag. Turner has worked hard to find every possible clich é about women and then worked even harder to fit them in whether it’s consistent with Presley’s character or not. Presley is truly flexible. And so is any concept of continuity.

There weren’t even any cute agents, so the entire thing was a waste of my time.

Consistency in her character would be a treat. One minute she’s thinking she’s a lousy lay and the next she thinks she’s God’s gift. Then there’s the “only the senator and Tobey know about the gambling” when she already knows that other people know. Does she even read her own story? She knows she’s smarter than everyone else. Which only proves what an idiot she is. If Turner is trying to be snarky, it ain’t workin’. She’s got enough savings to last a couple months and now she says the bill collectors will be calling in a week. Hey, what the heck? Let’s go shopping. Presley already knows how much Helen despised Tom and now she’s asking if Helen didn’t care for Tom? I swear to God, the woman is not reading what she’s writing.

“I was sure he had to be incredibly busy, or he would have jumped at the chance to spend more time with me.

Plus, who wouldn’t want me? In fact, he should feel lucky to be this close to me.”

At her age, why is she still allowing her mother to nag her every single minute of the day? Why not just sit down with her and point it out? Explain that if she cancelled the nagging and guilt tripping, she would be back to visit more often. Duh.

What’s with the jumping back and forth between points of view? Sure, I know it’s done, but with A LOT more skill than is shown here. It’s just confusing. Y’all need to read up on the basic rules about formatting dialog.

I’m shocked. Just shocked. Presley owns flip-flops? I do so hope they’re at least designer. She moans and groans so much about designer this and designer that, I would have expected her to have better taste than thinking Pottery Barn is the height of sophistication. She barges into Tony’s place and then gets pissy because he’s not being a good host?

I am struggling to read this. Christ, I feel as though we’re still in high school with all the self-centered angst. When did we learn that Simon was Palazzo’s son? Okay, it’s pages later, but we do find out that, yes indeedy, Simon is Palazzo’s son.

No, actually she’s still single because she’s too freaking self-absorbed to notice anyone else in the room. Poor thing, she keeps having to wait, what, five to fourteen minutes for people. I don’t know how she survives.

She actually believes she can tell Cooper that she had a run-in with an employee of his, Katy throws coffee at him and then Cooper’ll just be satisfied with that? If she’s the epitome of smart, I am desperately worried for the rest of the planet.

Oh, she thinks she’s just been threatened? Oh Lord, please see to it that Presley Thurman gets knocked off by the end of this story. If only for purposes of genetic selection and to preserve the rest of us from having to ever read about her again.

Omigod, Toby just told them that Chris’ life is in danger and Presley wants to know what the hurry is. Oh, yeah, and then she hits Cooper while he’s driving at 90 miles-per-hour.

I was going to beg Turner to get herself an editor, but I notice in the preface that she’s thanking an editor. I’m not sure if I should be appalled at how it ended up or more appalled to wonder what the editor started with! This desperately needs a content editor who hopefully will finish cleaning up the spelling and grammar.

The Story

It’s amazing how lighthearted Presley Thurman feels about losing her job. She’s always loved writing…I can only hope Pres is better than Turner; maybe losing her job is a sign to pursue the job offer Trevor made her just days ago.

It’s just that her first assignment sends her back to the hometown she fled all those years ago to interview Senator Daniels. She’ll have to endure her mother! Ick. As well as no access to Starbucks and decent shopping.

Well, her mother’s welcome is as expected, but the senator’s fate is not and Presley finds herself caught up in a murder investigation. I’d like to say there was tension and drama, but the only emotions I experienced were how soon can I get out of this!

The Characters

Presley Thurman is a vain, self-centered twit who doesn’t notice anything happening around her except in relation to herself. Sue and Clark Thurman are her parents. Her mother is a whiny, nagging bitch more concerned with appearances while her dad is a sweetheart. Jesse is her drifting younger brother. Katy Smythe is her best friend through high school and now runs Katy’s Klassy Kuts, a beauty salon in town. Rick is her loser ex-boyfriend who is too hardheaded to get the message. Trevor Jameson is a friend and editor of Our World; he’s with Doug.

Senator Tom Daniels is a typical politician — a jerk and a womanizer. It seems he has other problems as well. His long-suffering, rich wife, Helen, has been busy on her own behalf. And what a bitch she is! Whoa. Turner starts by saying Daniels is an up-and-comer who may run for president in the next election and later on Presley wonders why he needs security. Um, just how out of touch with reality is Turner? Tobey Stone is the senator’s assistant; his brother, Chris is very protective of him. Simon Atkins is part of the senator’s security team. He’s got one heck of a past. Garrison Palazzo is one of the owners of the Blue Royale Casino where the senator has lost a lot of money.

Brian Ames is her old high school boyfriend whom her mother insists on inviting around. Good thing his girlfriend, Barbara George, doesn’t find out. Derrick “Dirt” Robinson is the sheriff now and another old schoolfriend. Cooper Sands is the proverbial bad boy from school. Now he heads up his own security company, Sands Security Solutions, and he’s currently in charge of the senator’s security. He’s got a thing for Presley. Must be a masochist. Ruth Johnson is the town librarian, a closet gossip, Helen’s friend, and tight with Presley’s mother in the Junior League. Bobby is her loser son whose marriage has broken up. Naturally, it’s his wife’s fault. Betty runs Betty’s Baked Goods and I’d love to visit if only to taste that peach cream cheese muffin!

David Ritter is the chauvinistic jerk of a boss at McLaughlin
Industries and he switches between being the vice-president of sales and the CEO. Tonya is her best work friend who keeps meaning to quit smoking. Gary is Presley’s boss and the vice-president of human resources; he’s spoken to Ritter in the past about his sexual harassment.

The Cover and Title

The cover is cute with its stiletto shoes in the middle of a pool of blood.

The title is accurate enough for it’s the combination of Stilettos & Scoundrels that this story revolves around.