A FASHIONABLE FATE by Ileana Munoz Renfroe
The First Rosa the Cuban Psychic Mystery
Rosa de los Reyes is preparing for THE event on Colten Island, her fashion show featuring her latest designs. Everyone will be there, from island residents to guests ferrying over from Miami. Rosa is even prepared to deal with the diva model, Cynthia. When Rosa goes to pick her up from rehearsal she sees Cynthia's ghost in front of her cottage. With her spirit guide, Raul, dealing with the newly departed, Rosa knows she will have to help the Sheriff solve the murder. Her abuela has been getting troubling messages from her Tarot cards, so Rosa knows she can't be too careful. Will she be able to solve the murder or will it be curtains for her?
Although A FASHIONABLE FATE is the first book in the series, I often felt that I was coming into the story late as Rosa mentioned other cases she and her friends had solved. It was easy enough to become acquainted with the characters, however. I really liked Nana, Rosa's grandmother. She's intelligent, caring, fun, and is a great Tarot reader and psychic. I also really enjoyed Rosa's flighty mother who tends to either cook or faint when stressed. Unfortunately, I found most of the other characters underdeveloped and two dimensional. Rosa is a fashion designer who also happens to be a psychic who feels the Sheriff, though nice, is incapable of doing his job without her help. Although I know a lot about her, including the decision about her future plans, her emotions were never really explored, and everything seemed superficial.
I like the fact that the book features a Cuban American protagonist. I enjoyed the ethnic touches, learning some customs and hearing about the delicious food. I was happy to discover recipes in the book as well.
While the first Rosa the Cuban Psychic Mystery has a great premise, the writing is stilted with awkward dialogue, changes in tense, and at one point there was even a change in point of view from third person to first person. This debut novel had great possibilities but suffered from poor editing. A strong copy editor could have caught these issues and may have corralled the meandering storylines to help create a cohesive mystery.
A FASHIONABLE FATE brings together fashion and the paranormal in a uniquely flavored mystery. This debut mystery shows promise with a unique set of characters in an island setting.