Usually when a series starts out bad, it can only get better. Unfortunately, this series keeps getting worse.
There were so many things going on in this book that it was hard to keep track of them all -- a murder in a neighbor's home, an incident between neighbors, animal cruelty, illegal fur business, exotic bird trade, competing salon owners, baldness, citrus canker, teenage angst, bad deeds from the past. Way too much to keep track of.
Marla never learns her lesson and keeps putting herself into stupid, dangerous situations. Her cop boyfriend does nothing to discourage her from involving herself in his cases other than shaking a finger now and then, but yet he turns around and tells her that the case is "our case." Cops do *not* encourage civilians to get involved in their investigations, particularly a civilian as stupid and careless as Marla.
After she finds out about two hairdressers being killed, Marla thinks she went to school with one and doesn't recognize the name of the other. After she goes to her beauty school and finds out they were all classmates, we suddenly learn that the three, along with two other students, were part of a tight "gang" who hung around together and basically ruined another student's life. So why doesn't Marla recognize the name of someone she was supposedly so tight with? That really lost me.
This author has enough trouble trying to write mystery -- the last thing she should do is try to add romance. There's really no chemistry at all between Marla and Dalton, and her attempts at writing romance for them come off as juvenile and amateur. On one page, Marla is fretting about their differences and how a relationship between them won't work, then on the next page she's discussing the changes she'd make to his decor if she moves in with him. No consistency and certainly nothing about these two that makes you want to read about them having a meal together (which will, of course, be filled with leers and attempts at sexually suggestive comments and feelings) much less living together.
This author really needs to go back to writing school, because she's a textbook for "How To Get Your Novel Published." There's no red, yellow and blue in Marla's world -- only crimson, lemon and azure. Clothing, table settings, meals, cars, everything is described in painstaking detail to the point where you end up skimming over paragraphs at a time. And, in addition to the very annoying "Bless My Bones!" and random Yiddish phrases, we're now also treated to "Holy Highlights!" throughout the book. What is this, Batman?
Anyone who lives in South Florida knows that Palm Haven is really Plantation -- it's silly to try to invent a town when you're specific enough to tell us that someone is driving down Nob Hill Road to get onto I-595. Why the author felt the need to invent the name of the town is beyond me, since a large portion of her reading audience is local.
Yet another poor effort by a very poor writer.