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Red Hot

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Quick, easy summer read with a decent mystery and characters thrown in to boot.  It did make me long for some sand between my toes which is never a bad thing..
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Journalist Alex Vlodnachek is visiting with her celebrity sister in Miami, but the luxurious accommodations and vacation vibes don't keep her from getting involved in crime. 

The details of the people living in this hot spot of conspicuous consumption are enjoyable to read about, but Alex and her crew stay down to earth and kind. Not all of the people they meet in the course of this caper are kind, but they are all developed characters, believable and interesting.

This book is stylishly written, and the quandaries Alex and her friends and family get into are unusual and clever. If you enjoy cozy mysteries but tire of the common formulaic plots, this book is for you.
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There is something about this series that draws me in each time.  Perhaps it is the family dynamics, maybe it is the mystery, or maybe it is Baba - the Russian grandmother that loves to make goulash for the family.  Whatever it is, I am definitely a fan of the series.

This installment takes us to South Beach Miami where something is amiss with the HOA board where Annie has a penthouse.  Annie brings Alex and Lucy (the pup) for a bit of a vacation and to help figure out what is going on.  They don't expect to stumble across the death and mystery that ensues of who killed Leslie McQueen.

I stayed up way too late finishing this book.  That is the good (and bad) thing about an eReader is that it tells you how much more time is left in the book.  So when I see I only have 20 minutes, of course I'm going to finish the book before turning out the light.  The mystery moves along at a nice pace and while there are a few clues that might tip off who the murderer is, it wasn't obvious, at least not to me.  There were several possibilities and as the truth was revealed it was quite fascinating to see how all of the pieces fit together.

I was amazed at the deviousness of Leslie McQueen.  It is no wonder she ended up dead!  I was tickled at some of the other tenants in the building and of course the dogs.  One is named Mrs. Pickles, that just cracked me up.

I was glad to see Gabby make an appearance (Nick's ex) and she was quite useful with her criminal know-how.  We didn't see much of Ian, but then they were out of town and he was back home.  I hope that Alex and Ian are able to come to terms in future books and resume their relationship.

If you are looking for a fun cozy series to read, then check this one out.  We give it five paws up.
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About halfway through this book, I realized that this is part of a series (which I am yet to read), however, that being said it conceivably can be read as a standalone. You can easily work around the relationships and there is enough history to make sure that you understand the dynamics between the characters in the book.

Alex is our lead, she is also a freelance reporter, on vacation with her supermodel sister Annie in South Beach. Although, Alex is also here to help Annie figure out why the association where her condo(Annie) is has decided to do an emergency election for the office of associations president (so basically she is not on vacation).

The book is a wondrous crazy mystery filled with likeable characters, a large spoonful of humour, and a pinch of romance. This book doesn't low down, it is the epitome of page-turner and feels like something or other is always happening with both the sisters. I need to read this series now.

Thanks NetGalley, and the author and the publisher for my e-arc, in return for an honest review
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Red Hot by Dana Dratch is fabulously written. The characters are so full of life, with quirks and all. I felt like I was in South Beach with the Vlodnachek family.

Where is Leslie, and why would she want to be the HOA president?

Alex Vlodnachek
Alex is our sleuth, she is also a freelance reporter, on vacation with her supermodel sister Annie in South Beach. Although, Alex is also here to help Annie figure out why the HOA has decided to do an emergency election for the office of HOA president. Because seriously, who wants to do all that work for free. 

It's funny that Alex is so upset with Ian (her neighbor at home) for protecting his family, and yet here she is doing the same thing. Oh, and Ian is popping up in her thoughts. Hmmm. Does she protest her dislike too much? I like Alex, she is down to earth, funny and she gets things done. She has a great family and seems to make friends easily. 

The Mystery
So, this installment also has multiple mysteries. I happen to love this about Ms. Dratch; it's like bonuses in each book. So, we have:
•	The four candidates that no one has seen or met and the emergency HOA election.
•	Where did the HOA money go?
•	Why did the other two officers go along with Leslie's plan?
•	Who did Leslie in, and why?

So as you can see, Alex's vacation isn't actually as she thought it would be. But everyone seems to have fun. 

The Family in Red Hot
The Vlodnachek family is full of witty and quirky people. 

We have Anastasia (Annie), who is a successful supermodel, globe-trotting around and running her agency. 

Nick, their brother that is now a baker. He has a good head on his shoulder but, at times, seems naive. Nick also has a huge heart and loves people and animals easily.

Then there is Baba, their Russian grandmother who doesn't speak much English, cooks well and dresses with her flair. Yet, she is fiercely protective.

Alex's best friend, Trip Cabot, who helps her with her freelance articles, is a great guy, and he sticks by Alex though all of the things that Alex goes through. 

Then there is Gabby, Nick's ex, and everyone's friend. Gabby has these unique talents that Alex sometimes needs to borrow. She also pops up from time to time expectantly. 

Last we have Lucy, Nick's dog. Lucy is still a puppy, but she is relatively well behaved. Living in a penthouse has proved to be challenging at times for the pup. However, she has been pampered and made a new friend.

Five Stars
I absolutely love this book. Ms. Dratch brings everything to life. It's like I was there enjoying the Florida sun with them. My rating for Red Hot by Dana Dratch is five stars, and I highly recommend this book to all you cozy readers out there. 

I am looking forward to reading Flame Red Alex's next adventure.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Red Hot by Dana Dratch.

This Guest Review is for Baroness' Book Trove.

Until the next time,
~Jen

If you would like to see other reviews like this one, check out BaronessBookTrove.com.
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Red Hot
By Dana Dratch
Kensington
June 2020

Review by Cynthia Chow

Despite being the Anastasia Vlodnachek, international supermodel and uber celebrity “Annie” is still the nicest sister in the world and overly generous with her family.  So when Annie uncharacteristically asks her sister Alex for a favor, Alex is unable to turn down this rare request.  It’s just like Annie to make her plea one that is actually a gift, as she needs Annie to be her “plus one” for a meeting of her South Beach condo homeowners’ association board.  A trip to Miami is just the break Alex needs, as she’s been working nonstop as a freelance journalist in Northern Virginia.  The timing just happens to be perfect for Alex as well, since her kitchen is being renovated for her professional baker brother, Nick.  That means that his adorable pooch would be underfoot as well, so with doggles and booties for hot Florida sidewalks, canine Lucy is possibly more prepared for the humid South Beach climate than his human auntie. 

After arriving by private jet, the Vlodnachek sisters find that Leslie McQueen has enacted an over-the-top campaign for the special election of the condo’s HOA president.  At the catered party Leslie throws in her ostentatious condo Alex realizes that not only has the interim president salted the guest list with employees eager to spread gossip about her running mates, those rival candidates are nowhere to be found.  When elevators fail, the pool turns green, and the maintenance company declines any repairs due to late payments, Alex realizes that Leslie has very shady reasons for wanting to take a non-paying position that no one ever wants.  When a body is found at the bottom of one of those very faulty elevators, Alex quickly concludes that there is a reason the real estate agent suddenly went MIA.  Tracking down the HOA treasurer and secretary reveals that the finances have been emptied, and the clock is ticking for them to find the money before the rest of the homeowners revolt.  

Wanting to protect both her sister and the condo residents, Alex begins investigating how Leslie manipulated her fellow officers into submission to enforce her unfair policies and made-up rules.  With the best of intentions Alex and her under-duress team accidentally manage to destroy evidence, compelling them to complete their investigations in order to clear their names and prevent their arrests.  A more pleasant distraction lands on their doorstep in the forms of Alex’s favorite – if unexpected – vacationers.  Alex’s BFF Trip Cabot, her brother Nick, and their beloved grandmother Baba are taking advantage of the free condo (well, Trip wants the room service of another hotel), and even Nick’s ex-fiancée is in town for some more investigative assistance.  A thief with a Robin Hood morality of stealing from the rich and returning looted artwork, Gabby DuBois has just the right talents to help Alex dig up the dirt and hidden secrets that led to the HOA dictator’s death.

This series continues to be an absolute delight, filled with bantering dialogue, witty plots, and engaging characters.  Alex’s family and friends are enviable for their talents and intelligence, but prove to be so funny and good-natured that they are impossible to resist.  Author Dana Dratch continues to introduce readers to fascinating worlds; Alex’s start at a PR firm, the neighboring Bed and Breakfast, and here South Beach high-end condos.  The equally compelling thread of international espionage adds another layer of intrigue, drawing readers in and leading them into the following thrilling installment.  The next adventure featuring Alex and her extraordinary friends just can’t come soon enough.
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Red Hot is the third book in the Red Herring mystery series by Dana Dratch. 

I love reading the Red Herring mysteries, and Red Hot does not disappoint. It is a fun, upbeat read with a fast pace. 

In Red Hot, Alex Vlodnachek  goes to Miami with her sister, Annie,  because there is something fishy going on with her sister's condo board association. Annie wants Alex to investigate and of course, a murder ensues. 

Miami is a great change of scenery and makes it so fun to read during the summer. 

Even though a murder takes place in the beginning, I liked how the first half of the book was about following the money trail and then the second half dealt with the whodunit. 

I enjoyed how easily Trip, Nick, Baba, and even Ian were incorporated into the storyline, even though Alex was not in her hometown. I especially loved Gabby's appearance, and did not expect to see her in Miami! 

The story line is well thought out. Ms. Dratch has a breezy and engaging writing style that makes it easy to get caught up in reading. 

I would highly recommend Red Hot - one of my favorite cozy mystery series (and I read a lot of them). 

A few more observations:
* What kind of bank serves cookies , even stales ones, in the lobby?
* Baba wearing Lilly Pulitzer is priceless!
* Where can I buy some of that special Miami sunscreen? 

I received this book as an advanced copy from the publisher through NetGalley, but all opinions are my own.
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Alex is now a freelance writer, and is trying to finish a story, but finds it difficult when her brother Nick is in the middle of having her kitchen redone into a professional kitchen.  So when she receives a phone call from her sister Annie, who owns a modeling agency and is a model herself, Alex is torn.  Annie is in Miami at her condo for an emergency board meeting, and wants Alex to keep her company.  With a little coaxing from her brother Nick, and her best friend Trip, an editor at the newspaper, she heads off with Nick's dog Lucy in tow to the airport.  After arriving in style on a private plane, she thinks it will be a chance to catch some sun and write her story - due to Nick's idea of making it about Lucy's visit to the city instead - Alex is going to have a nice vacation...or will she?

When she meets the board's president, Leslie McQueen, it's not a pleasant one.  She also learns that there isn't anyone who likes Leslie, and she begins to wonder why.  But when Leslie is found dead, more questions arise: was it an accident?  Or did someone finally have enough?  Where is the association's money?  And, with the help of the omnipresent Gabby, who seems to show up at opportune times for Alex, she discovers that Leslie was up to no good, and there's more at stake than just finding her killer...

This is the third book in the series and I have to say that I'm enjoying it more and more as I read each one.  Alex is quite a character: not quite sure of herself as a person, but she's willing to put everything out there to save someone or get a story.  She's intelligent and doesn't walk into situations that could get her put in jail (again), yet she's kind and trustworthy, and loyal to those she cares about.

And what she cares about right now is saving the people of the building, even though she doesn't know them well.  But she also needs to take Lucy out and about and get pictures for the newspaper while she's at it, and she can't understand why her sunscreen isn't helping and her skin is turning red and peeling, when her sister, who's using the same sunscreen, looks like the model she is.  Alex is personally miserable, but professionally on the job.

The mystery is one of the best that I've read in awhile, and the tale was thoroughly entertaining, peppered with characters that were humorous, especially when Baba showed up and Annie tried to turn her into a "Miami senior" and almost succeeded.  We also have the fact that Alex is struggling with her emotions for Ian Sterling, owner of the B&B across the street from her, but hopefully, she'll come around eventually.

What Alex discovers is truly despicable of Leslie, and gives us one more reason not to mourn the woman's death (not that we would have, anyway).  Yet there's enough action on the part of the three women (Alex, Annie, and Gabby) to keep us invested in the story and wanting more.  It's a sprightly narrative that's more fun than it should be.

When the ending comes and we finally learn the truth, it wasn't all that unexpected, but getting there was half the fun, and looking forward to the next in the series is the rest.  Highly recommended.
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Red Hot was my introduction to the Dana Dratch's "A Red Herring Mystery" journalist and amateur sleuth series published by Kensington Books.
 
This book is a fun read, but I highly suggest that readers start with the first book in this series. Alex is a complex character who seems to be bogged down with work and relationship issues. As a journalist, she finds herself getting involved in a story she never intended to write, but she's not one to back off a headline. Her sister Annie, on the other hand, appears to be successful, happy, and easy to like. Other characters in the story, including their brother, Nick, are likable and interesting. I would have liked to see a lot more of Trip and their grandmother, Baba. Those two characters I found to be overall the most intriguing and entertaining. But the pup, Lucy, is simply adorable and will grab the reader's attention.
 
The death of the president of the HOA is a very likely scenario, who hasn't heard of HOA presidents who power-crazed? I can't honestly say that Leslie deserved to die, she had some quarks, and as the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that she belonged in jail at a minimum. Suspects are few, but they all have a great motive. The killer for me was evident from the start. But the motive eluded me a bit at first. Alex's journalistic instincts kick in as soon as the body is discovered, but it seems to take her a while to figure out what Is going on in the condo complex.

Although Red Hot is an enjoyable read, I found that it was a bit wordy when it could have been tighter. Having the main character be an unemployed journalist was interesting, but I felt she was a bit slow to figure out obvious clues. I urge readers to start from the beginning of the series to give them a better feel for the main characters. I would also recommend that readers give themselves extra time to read this book as it is long at 368-pages.  But overall, I believe that readers will enjoy this book enough to want to read future additions.

ARC provided by Kensington Books via Netgalley
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This was another enjoyable book in the Red series featuring Alex Vlodnachek.  This time she is in Miami with her model sister Anastasia.  Throughout the majority of the book, there is a question about the crime, which as the reader, you just know is murder.  The girls finally figure it out and we are not disappointed with the conclusion.  Along the way they have some adventures and get into some situations and make the story interesting to read along with them.  The characters are fun to read about and there is enough hijinks to keep you interested. A good afternoon spent.
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A bit of light hearted fun, an old fashioned crime caper perfect for the interesting times we live in (normally I would say ideal for reading on a plane going on holiday). A well told story with  a fairly credible plot - the baddie was not too obvious until near the end (or at least not to me).
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Entertaining and engaging cozy mystery. A delightful light tale of condo home owners association troubles. A trip to Florida for the group is a fun change of place.
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Alex is is need of a vacation and her sister, Annie, a jet setting super model, makes her an offer she can't refuse. Things have become crazy at home - her kitchen needs updating so her baker brother can use it to increase his business. Sounds doable until she finds out what's really involved. She says yes to Annie's offer, packs a duffle bag, grabs her brothers pup, Lucy (can't have her underfoot in the soon to be renovated kitchen) and hits the road (sort of - she is, after all traveling with jet setter, Annie) for South Beach and the Florida sunshine. It's July and it's enough to make Alex melt but Annie is on a mission to find out what the heck is going on with the Home Owners Association at her swanky condo. The election for the HOA's president has been moved up and then, out of the blue, there are five on the ballot. Very strange and Annie and Alex are determined to get to the bottom of it.
This series engages me from page one and I'm happy to go along for the ride. Don't look for the corpse to show up early. It takes almost 40% of the book to find it but it's worth the time. The puzzle is well developed and Alex and Annie make a great pair of sleuths. Their investigation had a very natural feel to it and I found myself saying 'just one more chapter'. That's the sign of a well crafted mystery in my book.
My thanks to the publisher Kensington and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Dollycas’s Thoughts

Alex Vlodnachek heads to South Beach with her big sister/super model Annie for a much-needed vacay and pup Lucy gets to tag along. Alex plans to relax by the pool while Annie takes care of some business at her condo. A quickly scheduled condo vote has Annie concerned and she hopes Alex can use her investigative skills to help her figure out what is going on.

When the current condo association president, Leslie McQueen goes missing and things around the property start to fall into disrepair. the sisters start digging and learn the association is basically broke, less than $40 in their account. Now they need to decide who they can trust. Was Leslie working by herself or did she have an accomplice or two?

This was a crazy fun book to read. Once I started I didn’t put it down.

Ms. Dratch takes the characters I have come to love on the road but soon most are all together in Miami. Baba gets a South Beach makeover but that woman still can’t cook. but her family will never let her know. I loved that Alex and Annie got to spend some time alone together before the rest of the family arrived but they do run into someone very helpful from their past. I also loved that Lucy played a big part in the story. This family is a hoot and a half and still all the characters continue to evolve and grow. The author also introduces readers to a diverse cast of characters that live in Annie’s condo building and they all seem to have secrets.

The pace was lightning fast, those girls were always up to something, which is why I read this book faster than I have read any book of late. Ms. Dratch is the expert at placing red herrings that is why they are the Red Herring Mysteries. She also plots the story out so well. The investigation follows a clear path and even when Annie and Alex hit a dead end they use spot on reasoning to move their search ahead.

I liked the change of scenery in this book. Florida is a great locale for a cozy mystery.

Red Hot is a wondrous cozy mystery filled with lovable characters, an intriguing mystery, a large dose of humor, and just a dash of romance. The entire series is fantastic! I recommend you read them all. My only complaint is that we have to wait until next year for book four, but it is so worth it.
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I think this has been my favorite so far of this series! I loved that it took Alex away from her home turf for a while to Miami, Florida, and that we got to know her sister Annie a lot better. I really like Annie, and she made an excellent sleuth and interrogator. She could question people, and they never realized it. Of course, with Alex's luck, the trip turned into a murder investigation but not at first. It was more of a "where did the dead woman hide the money she took" investigation. Lucy, Nick's dog that came along on the girls' trip was adorable as always. Trip, being the good friend that he was, had managed to snag a writing gig that Alex was able to work on during the time in Florida, and it was going to feature Lucy.

A Vlodnachek vacation wouldn't be complete without the ENTIRE family. That itself gave a little comic relief due to Baba (Grandma) showing up. I loved the showdown and how everyone worked together to trap the killer. Another favorite character, Gabby, made a good appearance and used her special skills to help with the sleuthing. This series has yet to disappoint me.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.
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This is the third book in this series and its is another fun read.  Nice and light reading to take your mind off the world for awhile.  Alex is a journalist who thinks she is a sleuth and  is in it up to her neck again in this one. with the help or hindrance of her quirky family and funny little dog she tries her best to get to the bottom of a murder while trying not to sun burn!! So much for a relaxing holiday. Great characters and a wonderful story line I'm going to go back and re the first two then wait for the next book to come out!!
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Fun cozy mystery, set in Florida in July! Are they hot or what? Fun tongue in cheek and a quick read. Alex and her family will have you laughing as you follow them to solve the mystery. Highly recommend this book and author.
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This is the 3rd book in the Red Herring Mystery series; however I have not read the preceding books. 

This is a light and sometimes funny caper type of mystery.  There were some random references which I assume tied back to earlier books, but the references seemed a little random and superficial. I found them distracting, but maybe it works better if you read the other books. 

Overall this book is a light easy read, perfect when you want to be entertained but not left emotional. A perfect beach read or a perfect "I want to think about something other than this coronavirus and I don't want to feel depressed in any way." 

Thank you Kensington Books and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Red Hot- Dana Dratch 

Great book, a really good read which I would highly recommend. I loved all the characters and the premise of the story. I did not realise until I had read the book that it was part of a series. Please don’t let this put you off reading as you can easily read this book as a stand alone. Having read this I want to read others by the author as it was really well written. Thankyou to both Netgalley and they author for allowing me to read this book.
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Red Hot by Dana Dratch is the third novel in A Red Herring Mystery series and a lot of fun as always.

This time it is Alex's sister Annie who needs help. 
She feels that something shady is going on at her Miami condo but she does't know what it is. So she invites Alex over for some fun and relaxation and to help her figure things out. They also take Lucy with them as NIc plans to remodel Alex's kitchen into professional one.
When girls arrive they realize that there is an election to be held for HOA but only one candidate, Leslie is present. Leslie throws a lavish party for her supporters but the next day she disappears and no one knows what is going on as the building seems to start having all these maintenance problems.
It is up to the girls to sorts things out with a help from someone from the past. What awaits them is murder and mayhem but as always family come to the rescue.

I like how almost all family members have recurring roles and develop along with the main protagonist. In every book it is a different family member to get to know more about. 
As always it is nicely paced and easy to follow along. The clues are not hidden and readers can try to follow them and solve the mystery. 
The only thing that bothered me was how Annie as a professional model continued to eat junk food which had no effect on her waistline. Or it just might be jealousy talking. 
I would love to see their mother mentioned more often as a feel that she is a very interesting character and would contribute a lot to the general craziness of the series. I also think that investigation in her father's past should be continued and resolved.
I love all the characters, their camaraderie and how each of them contributes to the resolution of the problem with their wits and skills.
It has a lot of personal touches which gives us more input into characters live and makes them more real.

All in all absorbing and entertaining read.
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