Title: Blue Steal
Author: Marnie St. Clair
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Release Date: September 2016
Length: 260 pages
Genre: Romance, Mystery
A witty, sexy and suspenseful story about a stolen necklace, a doomed hotel, and two people determined to get their hands on the jewels—at any cost.
Selina Migliore is smart and streetwise—with an ill sister and an elderly grandmother relying on her, she has to be. When fate hands her a chance to change her life, she’s determined to seize it. All she has to do is retrieve a long-lost sapphire necklace before the Empire Hotel is blown to smithereens. Nothing’s going to get in her way…
…except Jack Tierney, PI, who’s also on the hunt for the stolen jewelry. Jack is amused by his clashes with the pushy brunette, but as he continues to bump into Selina at strange times and in odd places, he starts to question who she is and what she’s doing at the Empire.
The pressure cooker really heats up when a new player enters the scene and it becomes apparent that Jack’s not the only one keeping an eye on Selina…
Selina Migliore is on a mission. She sets out for the once-grand Empire Hotel, where her immigrant grandmother fell in love with one of the hotel owners’ sons fifty years before. Now she is ailing in health and Selina’s sister has a serious illness that requires much more money than Selina makes as an executive administrator. Now that the ring in the famous Petrovsky sapphire collection has been found in the hotel where it went missing the night Nonna’s lover died all those years ago, Selina is there to find the matching sapphire necklace. It will solve all of her sister’s medical finances. There’s just one problem: Selina only has one week before the Empire is demolished.
Little does she know that fellow Empire resident Jack Tierney, P.I., is also at the hotel on behalf of the Petrovsky family to find the necklace stolen fifty years before. Once he finds inconsistencies with Selina’s story, they “team” up to find the necklace. Suddenly Selina’s great-uncle Lewis, her grandfather’s twin, finds an interest in Selina and establishes contact. While trying to riddle out the necklace’s possible hiding places, Jack and Selina both discover the mystery surrounding her grandfather’s death due to the Petrovsky sapphires just doesn’t add up. And Jack’s not going to let that go.
Why they bothered creeping, he didn’t know. They could have banged around like a herd of baby elephants and no one would have batted an eyelid.
The Highs and Lows
- Selina. She puts on a good front to Jack when caught red-handed searching for the sapphires. At this point, I’d already read about her botched engagement to a rich man (to pay for her sister’s medical needs), so it was saddening to hear her valiantly selling herself as a heartless gold digger to Jack in the linen closet. She’s such a good person, kind and caring and loving, that she is eager to please her great-uncle Lewis when he comes calling, no matter how socially awkward and strange he is.
- Jack. He is a PI with a past he projects upon Selina, especially the money bit. While I could understand his pain from the previous relationship he denotes, I couldn’t quite grasp how after three years he hadn’t started moving past that and opened up even a little smidge to the possibility of a new person. Instead, he projected that old relationship onto Selina and continued to make ultimatums with her and with himself about trusting her. Despite this, he is drawn to her like a moth to a flame. As he digs deeper into the old police report about the stolen jewels and Andrew Holloway’s death (along with the Empire’s security guard), Jack begins his own investigation and uncovers some unsavoury tidbits that he is concerned about bringing to Selina’s attention, but he had already threatened her requiring some information after the night she gave him the slip…and slipped him something!
- Lewis. For all these years he’s acted like a lone Holloway, turning Nonna away when she came to him and the family about her pregnancy. That doesn’t sit well with Selina and is the one thing she can’t let go of. Consequently, she is now a Holloway and named Lewis’s heir. She will inherit everything – as long as she doesn’t disappoint Lewis. His nature and mannerisms are slightly unsettling, but Selina chalks it up to living for fifty years without his twin.
- Pacing and Mystery This is a fast-paced story without much deviation or subplots. The story brings in some of the hotel staff and Jack’s partner, Charles, into the investigation. When the original cop on the Holloway scene and a childhood acquaintance turn up, the mystery of what happened the night Andrew died intensifies and starts crystallizing into a third story than the two previously told.
- The Ending. It was spectacular! There were so many elements to the ending that brought Selina back to the Empire. The ending was fitting and perfect. I did, however, wonder why the Empire hadn’t been torn down weeks after its closing like stated in the beginning of the book.
Marnie grew up in country NSW but now lives in a lovely leafy suburb of Melbourne with her husband and two gorgeous daughters. Apart from a deep and abiding love of all things romance, she has a wide array of embarrassing and/or unusual passions including playing Bridge, growing succulents, visiting deserts and getting down on the Zumba floor. No points for guessing which passion is the embarrassing one.