Friday, February 17, 2017

Lola Zola Desert Detective

Lola Zola Desert Detective is the third book in the Lola Zola series, written by Marcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz.

Lola Zola and her friends have their lemonade business, of course, always! Wise investor Ruby Rhubarb has taken the girls under her wing and into her social life, inviting Lola, Melanie, and Samantha along to attend Saturday night bingo. It seems like the whole town is taken by the bingo host Barton Beasley - everyone except that one table of ladies. Melanie and Samantha just think he's silly, like a cartoon character. Lola only has eyes for Buck, her crush for quite some time now. And Ruby Rhubarb is still pining after her dear Harry, who died not long ago.

Lola is glad her friends don't like Mr. Beasley, because she doesn't trust him. See, Mr. Beasley is peddling windmill sales by stressing how patriotic it is for a town to provide its own energy - a good idea in theory, but Mr. Beasley makes it seem slimy somehow. Lola is worried when her townspeople start buying stock in the hopes of getting their investments back and striking it rich in the process.

But when Ruby Rhubarb falls for the Windmill King himself, and not just his hoax, Lola can't keep quiet anymore. Everyone knows Ruby Rhubarb's husband left her a fortune. And everyone knows - or knew - that Ruby Rhubarb could never love someone like she did Harry. With the Windmill King pushing for a quick wedding, Lola and her friends don't have much time to show everyone what scam Mr. Beasley is really trying to pull.

With a lot of help from her friends, and maybe a little - but just a little - help from her hunky crush Buck, will Lola be able to expose the Windmill King's fraud and give the people of Mirage their money back?

- - -

In this book, Lola (and the writers) are really hitting their stride. I feel like this is where it becomes clear that Lola Zola is indeed a series - the characters are familiar, like old friends. The adventures are new, but you know what might be around the corner because you know the characters' personalities - you know Lola's going to get into trouble, but you know she's got a solid crew behind her, ready to help out. The setting really gets developed in this book, but not in a boring way, like being toured through the town. Winograd and Hirtz utilize vibrant description to really show the readers what it's like to live in the desert town of Mirage, and I think future books will benefit from this development.

See my reviews of the first two Lola Zola books here.

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