In this first book in a new series from Nancy Martin, we meet Roxy Abruzzo. She is the step-sister of Mick Abruzzo from Martin's well known Blackbird Sisters series. Roxy is a tough, strong-willed single mother who owns an architectural salvage company in Pittsburgh. Roxy hasn't had an easy life, but she is determined to give her daughter, Sage, every possible opportunity to have a better life and that includes going to college. Roxy just needs to figure out a way to pay for it, preferably without the help of her mob boss Uncle Carmine Abruzzo who is always trying to get Roxy to come work for him.
In the series opener, Roxy is one of the last people to see Julius Hyde, an ultra rich business man, alive. Roxy was at the residence which had recently been burned down by his estranged and very angry wife. Julius called Roxy in to salvage what she could from the ornately decorated mansion. While there, she talked to Julius and sensed something was wrong. Hours later, she learned that he'd been shot and killed, apparently moments after she'd left the property.
A murder investigation ensues and Roxy is listed as a person of interest, but she soon learns some Hyde family secrets and forms her own list of suspects, mainly centering around the family. Things get even more complicated when a valuable Greek statue is reported missing from the garden of the Hyde estate. As Roxy moves through her list of potential suspects and bullets start flying, she realizes she can't trust anyone but feels an obligation to find out who murdered Julius, even if it means giving up something that could change her life forever.
As a big fan of Martin's Blackbird Sisters Series, I was really looking forward to being introduced to Roxy Abruzzo. The first thing you notice is that she is one tough cookie. She is nothing like Nora Blackbird! I like Roxy's toughness but I did grow a little weary of it after awhile. Some of the stunts she pulled were a little hard to swallow and I wondered, Does this woman ever sleep? There were a lot of quirky and original characters to keep up with and a few I thought could've been left out. The sub plot of the missing statue, for me, didn't pan out like I hoped it would. That part of the story just didn't gel with me.
There was a lot going on in this story but I felt much of it was added just to make Roxy look tough. We did learn a little about why Roxy is the way she is, but it was so quick I had to go back and read it again to make sure I caught it.
I suppose I may have had such high expectations for this new series because I enjoyed the Blackbird Sisters series so much. In my opinion, spin-offs are never as good as the original and I'm sorry to say that is how I feel about OUR LADE OF IMMACULATE DECEPTION. That said, it does have its moments and is a fun, quick read. Will I give it another try with the next installment? Of course I will, but with lower expectations.
Author: Nancy Martin
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Published: March 2010