(Reviewed by Kam Aures JUN 12, 2005)
"I'd first heard about Polk in early August, after he sidestepped the customary chain of command at the firm. He'd called Gordon directly, dropped a couple of powerful names, and pushed his project to the head of the line. Polk was passionate about expanding his neurodiagnostic testing center. But expansion plans need more than passion. For starters, Polk needed money, and he wanted someone at Aames & Associates to give him the tools to raise it. He claimed that he'd already developed a group of potential investors through personal contacts and memberships in several medical organizations. Now he needed something to make them rich. Fortunately for him, our firm specializes in just that kind of writing."
Tucker Sinclair is a Senior Manager at Aames & Associates and is given the task of writing the business plan for Milton Polk. Tucker thinks that he is stubborn and difficult but if she could only see into the future she would realize that his behavior is nothing compared to what trouble this business plan is going to cause her in the weeks ahead. Tucker is up for partner at her firm along with two other associates. When she walks into Gordon Aames' office for her final interview she finds that the interview is the furthest thing from his mind.
The firm is being sued by an investor in Polk's Neuromed Company who claimed that the profits in the business plan were grossly exaggerated and because of this he lost a lot of money. Gordon pulls out a copy of the plan and as Tucker reads it she realizes that the plan has been altered from her original. When she goes to her office in search of the original plan she finds that it is missing and makes it her top priority to find it. Given that the partners have suspended her from work she has plenty of free time to do her investigation. When she goes to Polk's office and finds out that he is dead she realizes that the case might be more complicated than she originally thought!
Smiley's main character Tucker Sinclair reminds me a lot of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum.
They are both independent, determined, impulsive and hilarious. In fact, most of the characters in Smiley's novel are very funny and wacky individuals and every single one is memorable. She does an excellent job in developing the characters and following through on all of the storylines. There were not any loose ends by the end of the book.
Sometimes when I was reading the book I forgot that I was reading a new author. The way the story flowed seamlessly it seemed as if I was reading a seasoned veteran author's work.
A lot of times with "humorous suspense" novels I find that the outcomes are very predictable. This is completely not the case with False Profits. This novel had a lot of twists and turns and surprised me at the end. For me, unpredictability is very important in the suspense genre and this book definitely had me guessing!
Smiley is off to a great start with this first book and I hope that we see more of Tucker Sinclair in the future. It seems to me that in the way that the book ended she is paving the way for another book or perhaps a series. I hope I am right in my prediction because I feel that Smiley is a very talented author.
If you are a fan of Janet Evanovich fan, I would recommend giving this new author a try as their writing styles are very similar and I think you will be thoroughly entertained.
- Amazon readers rating: from 9 reviews
Read a chapter excerpt from False Profits at TWBookmark.com.
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
Tucker Sinclair Mysteries
- False Profits (November 2004)
- Cover Your Assets (November 2005)
- Short Change (July 2007)
- Cool Cache (July 2008)
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- Official website for Patricia Smiley
- Book Haven review of False Profits
- Paula L Woods review of False Profits
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About the Author:
Patricia Smiley was born and raised in Yakima, Washington. She graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Sociology, but also studied acting. Out of college she worked as a group supervisor in detention at the King County Juvenile Court in Seattle and then for four years, she workd at the Washington State Legislature in Olympia.
She moved to Los Angeles California an worked as the general manager of temp agency while trying out acting on the side. She decided to attend teh Pepperdine University in Malibu, receivied her MBA with honors, and discovered that she really wanted to write a mystery set in L.A.
She lives in Los Angeles, California.