Buyer, Beware

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Buyer, Beware

Style & Error Mystery Series

Samantha Kidd, a self-proclaimed fashionista, has just pulled off her first heist with the help of her old school friend Eddie. The prize, a small wooden statue from the Philadelphia Museum of Art on loan to the Institute of Fashion and Design (I-Fad). It is stolen on a dare for the new store Heist as a promotional event for the grand opening. The contest prize is $10,000 shopping spree if the contestants doesn’t get caught. Once the four complete the caper they meet up at Sam's. They prepare to split up until they return their prize at the following night's gala. Then they hear the sirens approaching Sam's home.

Sam sees Cat, Eddie and Dante when she enters Heist for the grand opening event. Talking with Eddie she learns that Eddie was stupid enough to actually put his name on the replica of the statue. Suddenly Sam's purse, which contains the contraband seems unbearably heavy. Wanting to take a breath she wanders over to look at the purses. She sees Kyle Trent looking for Emily Hart. Without much luck, and after introducing himself, he leaves. Sam continues to look around when she notices an Italian handbag she simply must look at. Using a step-stool she reaches for the bag when she notices something off to the stock area. The body of the aforementioned Emily Hart, handbag buyer for Heist, is lying dead. Next to her is the statue Sam and the others traded for the one in Sam's purse. Eddie's Initials are on the bottom of the base.

Detective Loncar looks at Sam with exasperation, but also with acceptance. If the crime involves fashion he can almost guarantee Sam will be involved somehow. Loncar considers Sam the bane of his existence. Sam tells him all she knows and is backed up by Eddie, Cat and Dante. The next day Mr. Tony Simms, owner of Heist, calls on Sam at her home and offer's her a job. He knows of her history of solving crimes in the fashion industry and wants her to replace Emily as buyer, but mainly as a cover. Her real job would be to find out who killed Emily and why. It comes with an expense account and a clothing allowance, how could she refuse even if she doesn't trust Tony Simms? At least this time around she curbs her impulsiveness and contacts Detective Loncar and offers to help with the investigation from the inside. Loncar agrees but tells her not to do anything that will put her in danger. Which is like telling the wind not to blow during a storm. Can Sam help catch a killer before another the killer claims another victim?

I began this series by buying the prequel Novella and book one. I wanted the background leading up to this book. I have to tell you Diane Vallere has given us a lead character that is so impetuous, you have to love her. Sam uses fashion as a type of shield to give her courage and confidence, but cannot help herself from snooping into anything a normal person would consider interference. She has her own style, some might consider it odd. She lives life to the fullest and has a deep sense of right and wrong. She will stand up for the underdog and someone she feels is being wronged in some way. She has loyal friends because she is one herself.

I find this series addictive in that you just can't walk away from Sam and how through no fault of her own she finds herself at the center of any storm having to do with the fashion industry. She is your quirky friend that makes you smile when she stops by dressed in an unusual outfit, but you will defend her to the end because outside of fashion she is very naive and trusting. She reminds me of a small child going to the fair for the first time. She is so totally in awe of everything she sees and sees it in a unique way. The dialog between the characters is always interesting and believable. Vallere doesn't force scenes to fit the need of the book, but rather builds a visual with words so that you can see in your mind’s eye how things come about.

While reading Buyer, Beware you will picture Sam and the other characters as they go about their lives. Vallere has a way with words that brings her books to life and brings you into the story as an observer. Thank you Ms. Vallere for a fantastic read. The Prequel “Just Kidding” shows us how Nick and Sam met and Sam's life in the New York fashion industry. Book 1 “Designer Dirty Laundry” introduces us to Eddie, Cat, Detective Loncar and many other characters from Sam's hometown and tells how she came to return to buy her childhood home. Each book can be a standalone, but as a group, read in order, they tell the whole story. Besides why waste an opportunity to enjoy such a talented author when you can keep on going.

Book Blurb for Buyer, Beware

Out-of-work fashion expert Samantha Kidd is strapped. But when the buyer of handbags for a hot new retailer turns up dead and Samantha is recruited for the job, the opportunity comes with a caveat: she’s expected to find some answers. The police name a suspect but the label doesn’t fit. Samantha turns to a sexy stranger for help, but as the walls close around her like a snug satin lining, she must get a handle on the suspects, or risk being caught in the killer’s clutches.

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2013 4.50