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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
A funny thing happened when I picked up Toxic Blonde by David Stever to check it out. I began reading the opening chapter and couldn’t put the book down! That was a problem for me, as I was in the middle of reading two other books. Suddenly those two books had to wait. I became totally immersed in Johnny Delarosa’s latest assignment: to give his client proof that her scientist husband was having an affair with a sexy, beautiful blonde, Keira Kane. If Delarosa’s client was right, that cheating husband stood to lose his wife, his estate, his career and his very promising future.
As the team struggles to obtain the needed compromising photos, strange events take place: Delarosa’s client and her closest friend are kidnapped from a safe house. Bodies fall. A previously unseen side of the client’s loving uncle emerges. And when Delarosa and company spot Keira bashing her male helpers in the parking lot of a sleazy motel, red flags are waving everywhere about Keira’s identity and her real motives for getting it on with the scientist. Suddenly, the FBI gets involved too and Delarosa’s investigation becomes infinitely more complicated. By the time it’s all over, and Delarosa nearly loses his life, readers will find themselves breathless and closing this thriller with the satisfaction that comes from a great read.
In a tradition and style reminiscent of Sam Spade, Delarosa narrates his story in first person and the pace never stops. From his office in a restaurant/bar that he co-owns with another retired cop, Mike, between downing shots of bourbon, Delarosa sets his team to work on surveillance. But that Toxic Blonde, Keira, is elusive in more ways than one. David Stever has a real gift for clever plotting, colourful character creation, easy-flowing and realistic dialogue, and injections of comic relief while still keeping readers in a constant state of tension. I loved it. My type of book! Easy reading; memorable characters; fast movement. Highly recommended? You bet! And if I have any regrets about reading Toxic Blonde, it’s that I now just have to go find a copy of Stever’s first book, Auburn Ride. But I better finish those other two books first!