Monday, October 6, 2014

A Pistol of a Pistil in "Pistils"

Isn't she a pistol?

Ever hear that saying?  Ever been told you are one?  Nah, me neither.  Well maybe once.  Or twice.

Now allow me to let you in on a little double-entendre in our review of Pistils a new novel by Kate McNeil and Britt Goodwin.  Flower shop owners by day.  Private investigators by night - or whenever the heck they are needed.  Get it?  Pistils/Pistols?  Take a moment to think about it then join me in exploring this fun novel.

Book Blurb:
With flowers and infidelity sharing equal time around the clock, running one of Savannah’s most popular florist shops is hard work for best friends Parker Chase and Vivian Carmichael. Daisies by day, private investigation by night.

When a prominent socialite seeks them out for help, they gear up for what should be a cut-and-dry case.  Just another job, until old shadows and unexpected complications start tangling it up.  New seeds are planted, old stems are cut…and even the prettiest of flowers have thorns.

My Review:
Vivian Carmichael and Parker Chase have been the best of friends since...well, forever.  After a stint-gone-bad in the CIA, Vivian returns home and finds Parker and her grandmother moving to Savannah after purchasing a floral shop.  Parker's five-year experiment, aka live-in boyfriend, has proven he isn't worth the skid marks in his underwear, and she's ready for a fresh start.  Now with Vivian back in the saddle, there ain't nothing these two can't accomplish when they put their heads together.

Thus Pistils is born as a cover for their real work as pistol-wielding PI's, hunting down the low-life deadbeats, drunkards, and dalliancers among some of the most prestigious households Savannah has to offer. And the latest cheating scandal gives them plenty of opportunity on both sides of the business.

Jackson Piedmont is the wealthy son of United States Senator Randall Piedmont - and Jack's wife, Lisa, is convinced he's a cheating SOB.  As a cover for their investigative work, Lisa puts Vivian and Parker's floral arranging skills to the test for her in-laws 50th wedding anniversary.  Then the flowers fly as the tables turn on the investigative duo - and Vivian's CIA past comes back to prick her like a thorn in the flesh.

I found Pistils to be a cute, fun read.  The reality of what was going on in the Piedmont household was easy to peg from the get-go, however there was a twist toward the end that reached out and bit me - and I LOVE being surprised.  I admit, I could've done without the sappy and unrealistic love interest interaction for Parker - for me it detracted from the story - but I really liked the surprise for Vivian.  Both the prologue and epilogue were completely unnecessary and could easily be scrapped, with only a few necessary tidbits from the prologue woven into the main storyline.  The epilogue is only a snippet to lead into the second book and is totally unrelated to this first story.  It would work better if it was simply included as a preview for book two in this series, if at all.

Pacing moved along for the most part, only bogging down with the weird love interest side story for Parker.  Each chapter was told in first person from either Vivian's or Parker's identified point-of-view and stayed true for each character chapter.  Most of the telling came about from the unnecessary prologue (have I said this enough?) but then moved into showing for the most part throughout the remainder of the novel with only a little jump to a backstory between Parker and her ex with the skids.  This was actually quite funny too and I laughed out loud at how Parker got her revenge on the nitwit.  It also helped explain why Vivian was always so concerned about Parker when they had to deal with the cheating spouse cases.

Editing was fairly clean.  Characters were nicely fleshed out, each having her own personality, which made for some fun dynamics between the two friends.  The only other thing to point out is at times a heavy hand with the f-word.  I'm no prude, but sometimes usage felt forced and completely unnecessary to the character and/or situation.  Just a minor annoyance for me.

Overall, I enjoyed Pistils and look forward to their next PI outing.  Four stars from me.

Pick up a copy at any of the links below.

Author Bios:
Kate and Britt have been writing together since 2009, although Pistils is their first published novel under their own imprint.  Living almost nine hours away from each other means a lot of texting and a lot of online chatting…as well as a girls-only roadtrip each year!  Kate is married to a chef and loves photography and knitting, Britt has a min-pin named Ruby who is her entire world, and a boyfriend who gets to play with trains for a living!

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