Narrator: Emily Ellet
Series: Friend for Hire Mystery #1
Published by Books on Tape on December 7, 2021
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 36 mins
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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Entrepreneur Emma Westlake is reinventing herself as a hired friend when murder gets in the way in this exciting new mystery series from USA Today bestselling author Laura Bradford.
Emma Westlake has always wanted to be in business for herself. As a kid, she had her own successful lemonade stand and dog-walking business. And when she entered adulthood, Emma sunk all her cash into her dream job of travel planning. But as her customers became more and more internet savvy, the need for her services declined. At a loss for what to do next, she turns to an elderly friend who suggests she try to get paid for doing something she's really good at--being a paid companion. Emma thinks it's a crazy idea until requests start pouring in. Big Max from down the block wants her to act as his wingman at the local senior center's upcoming dance, nurse practitioner Stephanie needs a workout partner, and writer Brian Hill asks Emma to be his cheering section at an open mic night.
Brian will be reading from his latest work and wants to know someone will clap for him when he's done. When Emma balks at the notion that people wouldn't, he tells her the room will be filled with people he's invited--most of whom will likely want him dead by the time he's done reading. Assuming he's joking, she laughs. But when Brian steps up to the mic and clears his throat to speak, he promptly drops dead. Emma is one of the last people to see him alive, and so she becomes an immediate suspect. Now she'll have to cozy up to a killer to save her skin and her new business.
I love Emma’s idea for a business – well actually her friend’s idea, but it’s Emma’s business. She’s a friend for hire, someone to go to the gym with or take to a party. When one of her clients dies at an open mic night, Emma takes on the role of (very reluctant) amateur sleuth. Thankfully, she has some help – an elderly woman she has tea with once a week and a nurse who has paid her to be a gym buddy.
I like how the three women work together and combine sleuthing with real life activities. We are immediately given a list of 4 suspects, a list put together by the dead man himself. Each of the four had a good reason for hating the dead man – a writer who was determined to bring all the town’s corruption to light. The clues and red herrings were placed well.
I liked the three main characters. Emma is sweet and honestly seems to want people to be happy. She does have a couple of potential love interests and of course one is the local detective. Emma also talks to her dog a lot, which I can relate to. Dottie is rich and a cozy mystery lover. Stephanie is 40-ish, loves crime tv shows, and doesn’t have a life outside of work. I enjoyed the three women’s interactions, even if having to tell each other everything the others missed led to a bit of repetition.
I listened to the audio and the narrator did a great job with Emma and the other characters. Their personalities and attitudes came across well.
I’m looking forward to the next in the series.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: