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Lexi Carmichael loves her job at NSA. It’s much better than hacking into computers and you tend not to get arrested. She does not like vacations and she particularly does not like vacations at the beach. However, her best friend, Basia does and Lexi let her talk her into going to Ocean City, MD for a week. Lexi doesn’t like water, swim suits or sand and Basia doesn’t want her on her computer which means it’s going to be a long week for Lexi.

Little does Lexi know…….

She ends up meeting some really great twins, Elvis and Xavier Zimmerman. They work in super top secret computer stuff but Lexi quickly learns that they have so much in common. Better yet, they brought several computers and invite her to come play. Now, that Lexi’s idea of a vacation!

But things start to change when she helps a man fix his computer. Suddenly, she’s being interviewed by the Secret Service, her room is trashed, thugs are after her and she’s thrown out of their motel. She’s not sure what is going on. It’s not like she was friends with the guy, she fixed his computer!

With the help of the Zimmerman twins and the support of Basia, they may figure it out but will it be before someone gets killed?

This is a prequel to Julie Moffett’s geeky adventure series starring Lexi Carmichael. This is first book in this series in No One Lives Twice. All the books are an awesome mix of mystery and adventure but with the geeks figuring out the answers and being the heroes. What a terrific twist.

The characters are perfect. Each has a personality and their own quirks. Lexi likes being a geek but sometimes feels out of place. She’s a great friend and really smart. The Zimmerman twins are super geeks but also friendly and warm. They connect with fellow geeks but embrace Basia, even though she doesn’t really get the thrill of playing computer games.

What is great about this book is the normalcy. Lots of Marylanders visit Ocean City for their vacations. Lots of people will help someone if they can. Meeting members of the opposite sex and hanging out with them, is also normal.

Lots of normal with this story until Ms Moffitt adds her twists. Those twists make this story far from normal. Touches of humor appear giving a bit of a light hearted feeling to what could be deadly boredom. Normal interactions become mysterious encounters as a microdot goes missing and Lexi is the last person to see its inventor alive. So what appears to be a normal Marylander vacation quickly becomes much more.

Okay, let’s just cut the chase and get to the bottom line. While many prequel miss the mark, this one hit a bull’s-eye. It showed how Lexi and the Zimmerman twins meet and became friends. It cemented their friendship and explained how they knew they could rely on each other. It was absolutely perfect, in not only showing how this friendship came about but in introducing the characters.

Though a prequel, this wonderful story doesn’t have to be read prior to the rest of the stories. It doesn’t even have to be read in conjunction with the stories. It’s actually a terrific story by itself. However, once you read it, you will want to read the other two stories that are currently in this series.

I am loving reading about Lexi and her friends. I love the messes she gets herself into and enjoy reading about her figuring out how to get out of the mess. All of the characters sound like someone who could live next door which makes the stories feel possible. The settings are in Maryland which for me, a Marylander, is kind of cool as I know some of them and they are presented very accurately. I don’t think I can come up with a single negative about this book or this series except that the stories aren’t coming out fast enough.

Book Blurb for No Money Down

Me and the legendary Zimmerman twins—it's a friendship made in geek heaven. And it all started back when I worked for the NSA...

My best friend Basia dragged me to the beach for her idea of a vacation. All those annoying people, sand in embarrassing places—not exactly R & R for a girl who doesn't like the sun, the ocean or bathing suits. I couldn't wait to get back to work.

But things started looking up when I ran into Elvis and Xavier Zimmerman. We discovered we had a lot in common: gaming, anchovies, hacking. After that, the vacation was perfect—until I accidentally broke some poor guy's fingers. Then Broken-Fingered Guy disappeared, and things got really dicey. With the Secret Service and a bunch of thugs suddenly after me, all I wanted was to solve the mystery and enjoy what was left of my vacation—preferably alive.

Prequel to No One Lives Twice.

26,000 words

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2012 5.00