|This is the third in Bond’s Body Movers series. If you have read the series, this might actually be a very good book. If you haven’t read the series, like me, then you will be lost for the first half of the book. This book is fun and engaging at times. But for far more of the book, it is convoluted and sometimes preposterous. It clearly builds on the previous books and sets up the story for the next three books, due out in 2009. On its own I can’t do more than caution you about it.
Carlotta Wren is the daughter of Randolph Wren, who was accused of embezzling. He and his wife took off, leaving 18-year-old Carlotta to raise her 9-year-old brother, Wesley. It is now 10 years later. There are three men in Carlotta’s life. Jack Terry is a detective who has been working on her father’s case and with whom she apparently spent a torrid night of passion in one of the previous books. They kind of have a love-hate relationship. Carlotta is currently recuperating from a broken arm received in a fall at a hotel during their last caper, during which Jack saved her life by catching her.
Peter Ashford works for the firm that previously employed her father. They were engaged when her father left, and Peter dumped her. Now Peter is back in her life, after one failed marriage of his own, and wants her to marry him. He has had her engagement ring retooled and is “holding it” for her to decide if she is ready yet.
Finally, there is Cooper Craft, a doctor who runs a body moving business for the local Atlanta morgue. Coop has a past, something about an ethical issue for which he was prosecuted and cannot legally practice medicine. He often hires Wesley to help him and is in love with Carlotta. He seems to be the top dog in this tale, being endearing and at times, romantic with Carlotta. Yet, she basically puts him off just when things are going well.
Carlotta loves all the men and can’t seem to decide, going back and forth all through the book. There really isn’t any real HEA romance in this tale and the only sex scenes are with Wesley and his attorney – it felt like it was thrown in for superfluous reasons.
The bulk of the story revolves around a starlet, on par with a Paris Hilton type, who dies in Boca Raton Florida. Coop is hired to get the body and asks Carlotta to go, thinking they could explore their relationship on the trip. Because of her celebrity, Kiki Deerling’s corpse has gathered a lot of publicity and Coop and Carlotta, along with Wesley who ingratiates himself along for the ride, deal with several attempts at body snatchings and almost end up dead.
Complicating matters more is a side story about Wesley’s gambling debts (which include a very graphic torture scene where his arm is carved by the bad guy when he can’t produce the money he owes) and the continued search for Randolph, who keeps popping up in disguise.
For some reason, Carlotta thinks of herself as an amateur sleuth and decides to investigate the “murder” of Kiki that the coroner’s office has declared as a death by asthma attack, while still trying to figure out where he father is and how she can find him.
For the first 100 pages, I felt like I walked into a story that I had missed the beginning of. It took a great deal of time to figure out where all the players fit. In addition, I didn’t like Wesley, who comes across as a spoiled brat who makes all the wrong decisions. Carlotta was a mix between an airhead and a very responsible woman who just leads a mixed up life. Her inability to make a decision about the men in her life did not make her endearing. Yet, the story is written with just enough camp to make the reader realize that one shouldn’t take any of this too seriously. Once I figured out the premise, I tried to settle in to enjoy. Sadly, I found the adventures silly and many times, the actions of the characters just too immature. I mean, why would you go out into a cemetery looking for a stalker with only the naïve intention to gather information? And Wesley stated that he learned his lesson so many times, that it just caused me to roll my eyes.
Body Movers: 3 Men and a Body may appeal to the fans of the series. But for me, I won’t be looking for the 2009 releases with any great relish.