Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: Beneath This Mask (Beneath # 1) by Meghan March

Beneath This Mask (Beneath #1)Beneath This Mask (Beneath # 1) by Meghan March

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 3 of 5 flames

He loves me, and he doesn’t even know my real name.

The limelight that follows him could expose everything I’m hiding. But even knowing the risks, I can’t force myself to stay away.

I’m going to break his heart, but mine will shatter right along with it.

Will we lose it all when I reveal what’s beneath this mask?

I have seen several of these Maddoff-themed stories since the discovery of numerous large-scale Ponzi schemes over the last few years. I have read a couple of them, all involving a lead character who was the child of the main schemer. (Professional interest - I assisted with securities litigation when I was in private practice.) I decided to read this one because its set in New Orleans, and well, I live here. Unfortunately, while I do like to read legal-themed books... I find myself picking them apart and ranting at all of the idiosyncrasies. For instance, at the beginning of the book, we see Charlotte coming off the witness stand with the AUSA's question ringing in her ears:
How does it feel to know your privileged life has been paid for with other people's dreams?
An AUSA would never ask that. And if for some crazy reason they did, defense counsel would be jumping up to object and move for a mistrial before the question was even finished. But this is the day of Law & Order and CSI, and so I know this goes to the entertainment value. I try to ignore it, I really do.

The story jumps forward to Charlotte in hiding, transformed into a tattooed "bad girl" chick, living under the name Charlie. Alas, she just wasn't believable as a true bad girl. It just screamed poser to me. Our male lead, Simon, was a clean-cut southern boy, son of a congressman and former Navy pilot. I liked Simon... but I didn't like them paired as a couple. As you can imagine, there was a lot of drama back and forth. And in the end, they get their HEA. No cliffhanger. I really liked Con - and I will definitely read the next book in the series which focuses on him.

All-in-all, this story was okay for me. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. I may have liked it more but I started reading it in the midst of a book hangover from my last read (Bright Side by Kim Holden). My favorite part of the whole book was Huck!