by Beverly Brandt

October 2006
ISBN: 0-425-21181-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Trade Paperback

Lainie Ames returns to Florida—but not to attend her high school reunion as she tells her family. Instead, she needs to recover. Her husband, a compulsive gambler, has left her with maxed out credit cards and no home, while he vanishes. Her job has gone bankrupt. She is broke, and ashamed of it, so Lainie concocts a bunch of lies to get her through this black period in her life.

Her sister, Trish, takes her out for dinner, but has left her money home, so Lainie is left with no choice but to steal a credit card from an unsuspecting diner. The next day, when Lainie goes out job hunting (any job will do) she stumbles into Jack Danforth’s Private Investigator’s office. He needs help, but even more, he knows that Lainie stole his credit card and he needs payback, not paying for some woman’s hundred dollar feast.

Since Lainie seems to have had good luck with a job, she sets her sights on Blaine Harper, the sexiest guy in her high school class. She takes a class at Rules of Engagement, a company that teaches women how to snag the girl of their dreams. With that knowledge, Lainie sets out to win Blaine’s heart. But her every move is foiled by Jack. Is that because Jack wants her for himself? Or is it something else altogether?

Dating Game is the first book I had the privilege of reading by Beverly Brandt. I didn’t appreciate Lainie’s style of dealing with problems—she lies way too easily—and I thought have the problems would have been resolved a lot easier and faster if she tried telling the truth. I also didn’t really relate to her, having come from a different lifestyle. However, Lainie is expertly portrayed, and I felt I knew her. Jack is a truly heroic hero, kind, even when he has every reason not to be.

There are several laugh-out-loud moments in the book, and I was caught up in Ms. Brandt’s expert story telling. Fans of Ms. Brandt are not going to want to miss Dating Game. It is hilarious, fun, and totally charming.

Reviewed in January 2007 by Laura.

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