by Linda L. Richards

December 2004
ISBN: 0-7783-2103-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

Mad Money is the beginning of what I think will be a wonderful new series of books by Linda L. Richards. I don't know if this is what is called "chick lit," but I do know that the book has everything: a little mystery, suspense, humor and some romance. The book introduces us to Madeline Carter, a beautiful New Yorker (by way of Seattle) who, as the book opens, quits her high pressure job as a stock broker. She decides to do this and move to California after one day witnessing a fellow broker get gunned down right in front of her; a fellow broker who was also a really good friend.

So Madeline is off to Los Angeles…without a home…without a job and without a plan. She only knows that she has to get out of New York and that going back home to Seattle is not an option because it would be exactly that: going back. Los Angeles has lots of surprises in store for Madeline, one of them being bumping into an ex-boyfriend, Ernest Carmichael Billings. Ernest gives her a hot stock tip about a company where he is on the verge of becoming CEO and even though he had been a terrible boyfriend, he was a whiz at turning struggling companies around, so Madeline acts on the tip. After all, she’s not an actual broker any more; she’s just a day trader. So there’s kind of no harm in it. Really, there isn’t.

But after that, things start to go haywire. Ernest is suddenly missing and, of course, the stock that was once so hot and promising is now a virtual lame duck. And Madeline, her mom (who invested after talking to Madeline) and her mom’s friend (who invested after talking to Madeline’s mom) are on the verge of losing a lot of money. No, make that an AWFUL lot of money. Add to that, there’s something weird going on with her new landlord’s teenage daughter. She also comes up missing. Her new landlord just happens to be one of the most famous and recognizable movie directors in the world. At any rate, Madeline decides to try to uncover exactly what is going on in this new world of hers and that’s when the real adventure starts!

Mad Money is truly an irresistible read. The sly humor, the wit and the simple intelligence with which the book is written will keep me looking forward to Ms. Richards next book…and her next…and her next.

Reviewed in May 2005 by Lisa.

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