Author: Kendel Lynn
My Copy: ARC courtesy of Henery Press
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: As director of the Ballantyne Foundation on Sea Pine Island, SC, Elliott Lisbon scratches her detective itch by performing discreet inquiries for Foundation donors. Usually nothing more serious than retrieving a pilfered Pomeranian. Until Jane Hatting, Ballantyne board chair, is accused of murder. The Ballantyne’s reputation tanks, Jane’s headed to a jail cell, and Elliott’s sexy ex is the new lieutenant in town.
Armed with moxie and her Mini Coop, Elliott uncovers a trail of blackmail schemes, gambling debts, illicit affairs, and investment scams. But the deeper she digs to clear Jane’s name, the guiltier Jane looks. The closer she gets to the truth, the more treacherous her investigation becomes: a brutal attack on her own suspect and the murder of a witness. With victims piling up faster than shells at a clambake, Elliott realizes she’s next on the killer’s list.
Elliott Lisbon is the Director of the Ballantyne Foundation and is working on her private investigator license. She conducts discreet inquires on behalf of the Foundation and when a board member, Leo Hirschorn, is found murdered, the Foundation’s benefactor specifically asks for Elliott’s assistance. She agrees, but then realizes that means trying to clear another board member’s name, Jane Walcott Hatting, and there’s no love lost between her and Jane. Elliott recognizes her investigation would be easier if the new Lieutenant, Nick Ransom, would take her seriously, but she understands that may never happen. After all, he’s her ex-boyfriend who ended things suddenly and quickly walked out of her life. Will Elliott solve Leo’s murder without Nick’s assistance or will she realize the culprit is who the police suspect?
Can I take a moment to talk about Nick? He’s sexy and sparks fly when he’s with Elliott, but he’s also very protective of her. There’s a scene with Elliott and an interview with a hotel manager and your heart breaks for Elliott when she realizes what Nick did; however, at the same time you can’t help but appreciate that Nick wants to protect her. I loved Elliott! She’s intelligent and isn’t afraid to take matters into her own hands. Elliott is a strong woman and it’s clear that everyone in Sea Pines loves her and there’s a reason. As the director of the Foundation, she’s hands on and is involved with all aspects of charity fundraising and since Sea Pines is a wealthy resort, she knows the people and area.
The writing is engaging and don’t start this book at night, otherwise you’ll never put it down! I laughed so much and just adore this book. There’s a hilarious scene involving punch and a rug that will leave you agreeing with Elliott. The characters are interesting and a few will leave you questioning their innocence. The primary suspect, Jane, is a force to be reckoned with and doesn’t want Elliott’s help. You’ll want to shake some sense into her and maybe slap her a few times based on how she treats Elliott. Board Stiff is told in Elliott’s perspective, but it makes sense since it’s her story and her struggle to be taken seriously as a private investigator. While most first person point-of-view narratives aren’t in-depth regarding what secondary characters are thinking, Lynn does a great job describing exactly what a secondary character is doing and from there we get a good sense of what they may be thinking.
As for the mystery, it’s well thought out. I had my suspicions and I was proven wrong. When the killer is unmasked, I reread that section a few times while my mouth hung open. I was shocked, but glad it turned out to be that person because I disliked them. I can’t wait for others to read this book, so I can discuss it fully.
I did mention the attraction between Nick and Elliott, but I didn’t talk about Matty Gannon. Matty is a good friend of Elliott’s and the two have been known to go out a few times, but as friends. When Matty realizes there’s potential competition for Elliott, he stakes his claim and gives her a toe curling kiss. Lynn has us asking which team we’ll be rooting for: Team Nick or Team Matty. I’m personally on board with sexy Nick despite the way he treated Elliott in the past. Although there’s romance, it’s not central and I think readers will enjoy the romance aspect.
I do have to warn you though, eat something before you read! Otherwise, you’ll be dreaming of the food Lynn mentions and no doubt drooling. Foodies will be delighted with the amount of dishes that are described.
I really enjoyed Kendel Lynn’s Board Stiff and it’s a fun read. If you have a few hours to spare and are looking for a humorous book to get lost in, I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to read the rest in the series and find out what happens to Nick and Elliott.