This review is posted as part of a review tour for TLC Books Tours.
~ About the Book ~
Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times — including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square. When he meets his cousin’s “right hand man” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand.
Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo nightclub.
When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build.
Series: #1 Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery
Release date: 10 July 2018
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
~ Excerpt ~
Hamish studied the room around him. There was nothing homelike about it, and his trick of finding familiarity to fend off later anxiety failed. Something about this place tightened his chest. He sipped his Coke. Often his anxious episodes were the result of internalizing the projected worry of another. While Luca appeared as he always did—dressed to the nines, with perfectly smoothed hair and an easy smile—something in Hamish twitched.
“Empathy is the greatest gift,” his father had often told him. There was no divide in empathy. It transcended race and class and gender.
“I got you a bicycle,” Luca was saying.
Luca nodded. “I want you to be at home here, Cicero.”
Cicero. Luca had used that nickname for as long as he could remember. Even before Hamish had gone to the library and picked up an encyclopedia that nearly dragged him down with its weight. Cicero, who refused the magnanimous invitation to join the First Triumvirate on account of his fear of undermining the Republic in Caesar’s time. Cicero. Named for his proficiency in all things legal, philosophical, and academic.
“And I want you to not feel guilty for leaving. You needed to break out on your own for a bit.”
“I don’t feel guilty.”
Luca chuckled. “Cicero, do you remember that one Christmas when I told you I was late because my train had been held up and you saw right through me? You did. You stared at me intently and then you called me out for lying. Which I certainly was. And I said—”
“That I had an amazing gift.” Hamish remembered the incident clearly. “That I could tell when someone was lying.”
“And in this case”—he squeezed Hamish’s shoulder—”so can I. Now! I propose a toast.” Luca’s smile was broad and his eyes glistened under the white lamp beside him. “I actually can’t believe you’re here.” Luca shook his head with delight.
“Is that the toast?” Hamish inclined his Coke bottle.
“No, no, no. It’s just that . . .” Luca stopped.
“Are you misting up?”
“Stop mocking me!”
“I wasn’t mocking you.”
“And bottoms up!” Luca insisted, chiming Hamish’s glass and taking a long sip.
Hamish gulped a welcome swallow of cold soda. Then he laughed. “That was a terrible toast.”
“Yes, maybe.” Luca swished his martini. “But it’s going to be an absolutely dazzling summer.”
Taken from “Murder at the Flamingo” by Rachel McMillan
Copyright © 2018 by Rachel McMillan
Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/
~ Review ~
I am completely, utterly, and totally in love with Hamish DeLuca. And yes, it really was necessary to use all three of those adverbs together.
So, why do I love Hamish DeLuca? Let me count the ways…
- His vulnerability. Hamish has what we, in the modern world, would now recognise as an anxiety/panic disorder. That plays havoc with his confidence, but he actually has a hidden well of courage that he only begins to discover in this novel.
- His loyalty. I’m not sure I can put this into words. But do I really have to? I mean, loyalty is loyalty. You’ll just have to read the book to experience it for yourself.
- His dancing. I love a guy who can dance, and boy does he have the moves. Sadly, I doubt I would do him as much justice as a partner as Reggie does…
- His bookishness/intelligence. He’s a smart guy, our Hamish. And he’s observant and intuitive. He’s a deep thinker and a deep feeler, and…*sigh* How could anyone NOT love that?!
- His single dimple. Okay, so I’m being a bit superficial now, but—hello! Dimples! Or dimple, in Hamish’s case. Slay me! ❤
Okay, but in all seriousness, none of these things would have been half so endearing if it wasn’t for the wonderfully vivid characterisation by Rachel McMillan. Reggie is equally enchanting, albeit in a more forthright way, and together, they are well on their way to becoming a favourite detective duo of mine.
But Rachel McMillan doesn’t just capture the heartbeat of her characters; she captures the energy of 1930s Boston and its nightclub scene as Luca prepares to open The Flamingo. It’s a vibrant world full of varied characters, brought to life through imagery-rich description and attention to detail.
I suppose I should mention the murder. Should I? Nah. You can find out all about that yourself. But I will say Hamish and Reggie definitely bested me in figuring it all out. I’d take my cap off to them if I were wearing one!
Needless to say, I’ll be eagerly anticipating Hamish and Reggie’s next adventure!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Rachel McMillan is a history enthusiast, lifelong bibliophile, and author of the Herringford and Watts series. When not reading (or writing), Rachel can be found at the theater, traveling near and far, and watching far too many British miniseries. Rachel lives in Toronto where she works in educational publishing and is always planning her next trip to Boston.