Author: Parker Paige
Genre: Romantic Suspense
My Copy: Review Copy via Author
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: Tapping into the common wish to be someone else, if only for a short time, this suspense drama explores what happens when a woman, bored with her humdrum existence dyes her hair red and takes on the persona of her late sister and ends up becoming one of three redhead suspects to murder.
Charlie Weiss is a hardworking legal secretary who longs to reinvent herself. She’s always admired her old sister, Sandy, but when Charlie is left without a family, she finds herself alone with a drinking problem and her psychologist seems to offer zero support. Suddenly Charlie has an idea and decides to change her personality and emulate her sister. She dyes her hair red and begins to sport a new expensive wardrobe. No one at work is comfortable with the new Charlie and when a work nemesis begins to taunt her, Charlie seeks to teach her a lesson only to find herself a suspect in a high profile murder.
Character development is a little weak regarding the supporting characters. As for our main character, Charlie, I didn’t quite connect with her. I understand her concerns about wanting to be someone different. Haven’t we all been in those shoes at some point? Coveting and dreaming of the other side only to find out it’s not cracked up to be? I can sympathize with her, but I just couldn’t grasp her as a timid mouse especially when Camina begins to taunt her at lunch with a fellow co-worker. Her sudden personality change made me question her sanity because she just eased into the role. Charlie also spends a lot of time with her sister’s ex-fiancé, Lee. The two of them are matched perfectly in terms of personality and it is pretty apparent he cares for her. At Charlie’s place of employment, we have Laura and Camina, both redheads at Whitley & Austin and legal secretaries. For the life of me, I can’t understand why Laura is friends with Camina and Paige never explains their friendship.
The writing is engaging and narration is third person narrative. A few times Paige reminds us that Charlie looks like Laura and Camina after dying her hair. The constant reminders became mundane, but I understand why Paige did it and everything becomes clear especially when a paralegal identifies the murderer as a redhead. What I really liked about Paige’s writing is how she set up the story by taking us from the present to the past back again to the present. It really helped establish the story and I don’t think it would have been very effective if she had tried it in a different format. Paige also brings to life working in a legal setting. I know it can be very demanding (I once worked for a law firm and never again). Some of the situations Paige presents wouldn’t surprise me if they happened in real life.
There are a few unanswered questions. It’s referenced several times that Charlie’s sister was engaged to Lee, but it’s pretty apparent that Charlie and Sandy are very different from one another. A part of me wanted to know why Lee was attracted to Sandy in the first place and wanted some back story there. Also Charlie as Chaz alludes to liking some kink and I’m curious if this was just some personality aspect to Chaz or if Charlie was acting out something she’s suppressed. Alas this was never fully explored and it would have been nice if it had. Furthermore, there’s a slight paranormal aspect, with Sandy coming to save Charlie. I would have liked a little more exploration on this and keep questioning if Charlie somehow made up the visit to save herself. With regards to the actual killer, I still have my doubts regarding who did it and the way Paige presents the facts, I’m not sure we got the complete story.
I liked Parker Paige’s Whitley & Austin and it’s a fast paced read. If you have a few hours to spare and are looking for a whodunnit, then this is for you. I understand Paige is working on a sequel and I’d be interested in reading it to see how Charlie has progressed and how things stand between her and Lee.
Purchase Link: Amazon
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Parker Paige has been writing fiction for several years with a passion for creating eccentric characters. She is fascinated with true stories and for that reason, she is drawn to the network Investigation Discovery like a drug. She is the author of The Color Pink and Whitley and Austin. She is not completely insane, maybe just a little bit crazy. She lives in Los Angeles.