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Pickle Me This

November 2, 2020

Santa Monica, by Cassidy Lucas

Oh, what would you give for a thriller that isn’t stupid?

Do you know what I mean? To be able to get lost in a book that is fluffy and silly, but doesn’t jump the shark to become completely preposterous. A book that is delectable as a hot fudge sundae, but whose characters are well drawn and real, with plausible dialogue, and who make sense as human beings? For a plot that is genuinely gripping and surprises you completely at least twice? Where “enjoyable” is not synonymous with “bad?”

I was expecting to have fun reading Santa Monica, by Cassidy Lucas, but that the book was so excellently crafted turned out to be the most amazing surprise. Beginning with the end, the much revered fitness coach found dead in his studio, and whodunnit? Cassidy Lucas (the pen name for writers Julia Fierro and Caeli Wolfson Widger) going back to the start to show how everyone has a motive: the woman he was sleeping with, her husband, the woman who was helping him steal from the fitness studio, and her husband, and his sister, and any of the nubile women of Santa Monica with whom Zack had been sleeping. Plus there’s a transplanted Brooklynite who is having trouble fitting in with her new California lifestyle, the perfect mom whose family is looming on the edge of terrifying debt, the housekeeper hoping to evade ICE authorities and raise her son in America, and more.

I loved it. Such a pleasure, and not a guilty one at all.

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