For better or worse, I am not so keen on meta details and am quite willing to overlook so obvious ploys for my attentions if there's a good story to be had or characters who manage to suck me in with their extreme displeasure of the human race's inability to keep up. Which is why... I dug Phillip Digby and rooted for Zoe Webster. These two unlikely friends find that sometimes you just have to say... eh... meh... that's what it is and then make up your own adventure to discover the mettle you're made of and a soulmate who's worth putting yourself out there for.
QUOTE ME: Adorably snarky but with an edge of truth to it that bites you when you least expect it. Not bad, just surprising for a fun, light romance and the convoluted mysteries contained within it. For something so fluffy, the characterization and interaction of all these characters prickles. I was impressed, delighted and pleasantly pleased with how well each character became rounded out even when I thought oh, this part of the book relies too heavily on that trope and this cliche.
Don't get me wrong, despite its best efforts, TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE does devolve in parts and where the plot should be tighter strays a bit too much. A lot of the story lines entangle in such a predictable way and yet they still get away from the author. Also, I felt the age of Zoe and Digby didn't quite fit the narration and that it would've seemed more realistic if they were aged up. However, these weaknesses were easily overlooked when the same sort of sarcastic edge you get from the banter between Watson and Sherlock in the modern BBC Sherlock very much fits how Digby and Zoe interact and is probably why I adored them.
TROUBLE is a great, clean romance that's actually got very little of any romancing of the sort and more of a Nate the Great friendship vibe where everyone sort of gets into trouble together and they all somehow managed to get out of it... together, awkwardly and not without bruises. Unrealistic, yes, but exactly what readers are wanting from this kind of story.
When Philip Digby first shows up on her doorstep, Zoe Webster is not impressed. He's rude and he treats her like a book he's already read and knows the ending to. But before she knows it, Digby--annoying, brilliant and somehow attractive?--has dragged her into a series of hilarious and dangerous situations all related to an investigation into the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that may be connected to the tragic disappearance of his own sister eight years ago.
When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can't say no. Digby gets her, even though she barely gets herself. But is Digby a hero, or is his manic quest an indication of a desperate attempt to repair his broken family and exercise his own obsessive compulsive tendencies?
A romance where the leading man is decidedly unromantic, a crime novel where catching the crook isn't the only hook, a friendship story where they aren't even sure they like each other--this is a contemporary debut with razor-sharp dialogue, ridiculously funny action, and the most charismatic dynamic duo you've ever met.