2008, Contemporary Romance
HQN, $6.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 037377298X Part of a series
Everybody Loves Evie was a tough book to review. While I enjoyed parts of it and actually laughed aloud at times, the book also was a bit of a mess.
This is the second in Beth Ciotta's Chameleon Chronicle series featuring Evie Parish and, though I haven't read the first book, this one provides the backstory. The series has an interesting premise. Evie was a lounge singer for years in Atlantic City casinos, but now at 41 she finds most of the jobs go to younger women. Through a temporary job, Evie became involved with Chameleon, a covert government organization charged with exposing con artists by employing a mix of former law enforcement agents and reformed grifters.
As the second book begins, Evie is in London with her lover Arch, one of Chameleon's reformed con artists. Evie knows she shouldn't be attracted to Arch - she's a good girl and Arch is a sexy bad boy - but she can't help herself. Evie longs for excitement of all kinds. She also longs to be a Charlie's Angel, and leaps at the chance to leave Arch and go back to the United States to work for Chameleon and its leader, Milo Beckett.
Though the book is told primarily in first person from Evie's point of view, a number of chapters are also told in third person from Milo's point of view. Through these chapters, we discover that Milo is in love with Evie and hopes that she will leave Arch for him. This led me to believe that Milo and Evie would eventually end up together. In fact, I found myself hoping for this, as I liked Milo, and never really liked Arch. Unfortunately, at least in this book, Evie's destiny is Arch.
Eventually, all three, along with a bunch of other Chameleon agents, end up back in Evie's Indiana hometown to expose a con involving the wife of an important senator, while Evie is there to save her mother from a different con artist. Much of the action takes place off stage, with Evie wishing that she could be more involved as Milo and Arch take control. It's fair to say there are some funny scenes in this portion of the book. I also found a brief side story between Milo and one of Evie's friends to be interesting. In fact, I found myself hoping that more time would be devoted to them, and less to Evie and Arch.
I had fewer problems with Evie than with Arch, but she seemed immature for a 41-year old. In one scene, her friend comments "everybody loves Evie." I just wasn't sure why.
While the book technically does have an HEA, I'm not entirely convinced that it will last, and sadly, I don't really care. I honestly just didn't like Arch.
-- LinnieGayl Kimmel
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