I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Designed for Murder by Avery Flynn
Series: Killer Style,
Published by Entangled: Ignite on November 9th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Source: Entangled Publishing
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Some fashion statements can kill...
Mika Ito combines her two favorite things in life—textile design and live-action role-playing (LARP)—by creating costumes for her fellow Magic Battledome gamers. Lately, someone's been assaulting LARPers and stealing their costumes. Concerned for the safety of her friends, Mika hires Maltese Security...only to discover that the lead investigator is the super-hot stranger she just hooked up with.
Carlos Castillo is all too familiar with Magic Battledome. A former legend in role-playing circles, he was all about gaming, until things went very, very wrong for him. Now he's forced to return to the game undercover—as Mika's boyfriend—to find some answers. Only playing “boyfriend” with his gorgeous one-night stand is more temptation than a guy can withstand...
Someone wants the costumes enough to kill for them. And when it comes to murder, nothing is what it seems...
“Some fashion statements can kill..”
Author Avery Flynn solidified herself as one of my favorite romance authors with her retreat novel, Dodging Temptation, and I find myself under her thrall yet again with the latest entry in her Killer Style series, Designed for Murder. Like Dodging Temptation, Flynn brings together a multicultural cast of characters for a fun mystery/suspense yarn surrounding the world of LARPing (Live Action Role Playing). As a geek with a fashion design degree, this story was made for me, and I hung on every last word.
Mika Ito is a textile designer by day, and LARPer by night. She uses her skills to create costumes for her fell Magic Battledome gamers, but finds out that her friends are being targeted by some crazed person out to steal their costumes. This leads Mika to hire Maltese Security. This was the first book I’ve read in the Killer Style series, but Flynn did an excellent job of making Designed for Murder read as a stand alone novel. Through strategically placed dialogue, Flynn fills in the background surrounding Maltese Security for first-time readers without boring long-time Killer Style fans.
To make matters worse for Mika, it turns out that the perfect man to help her with her dilemma is her one-night-stand, Carlos Castillo, hacker extraordinaire and Magic Battledome legend. Despite his attraction to Mika, Carlos is afraid of getting too close to a woman after the last time he gave a woman his heart almost proved fatal. Sadly, Carlos’ wants fall on deaf ears as his comrades ask him to go undercover as Mika’s boyfriend in a bid to crack the case. I really enjoyed the push-and-pull of Carlos and Mika’s relationship. They both have a lot of baggage, and it was fun watching them inevitably fall for one another.
As for the mystery surrounding the stolen costumes, I thought that was very well-written. Flynn takes newbies into the world of LARPing, and explains it in a way that even those most opposed to the pastime will find it interesting. As someone who games, attends Comic-Con, and the like, I’ve never been interested in LARPing, but Flynn’s description of the hobby created an interest for me that I never thought possible. Not only does she describe people of all different races and creeds coming together in good fun, but she also shows how people from every walk of life can find some common ground.
I would recommend Designed for Murder to anyone who loves a little bit of mystery with their romance. All aspects of the story are well-developed, and both Carlos and Mika are likable characters you want to root for. The mystery kept me on the edge of my seat by its lack of predictability. Even though Carlos and Mika essentially suffer from the dreaded “love at first sight” romance phenomena, there are enough hurdles in their way to make their relationship fun to read, and there’s tons of sizzle between them.