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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: No Good Deed by Diane Hester

Cass’s day starts off with a bang when, out on her morning run, she witnesses an out-of-control sports car crash into a river and her intervention saves the driver’s life. Wealthy, suave Lyle Fuller is extremely grateful… and very interested in Cassidy. But she doesn’t have much space in her life for romance, too busy running The Kettle, her charity kitchen feeding the unhoused of Adelaide. No room for Lyle, or for hunky builder Darren, who’s busy helping bring The Kettle’s building up to council standards so they don’t get evicted.

Lyle comes over as a bit off from the beginning, and we get enough glimpses into his point of view to know his motives aren’t good, but honestly I struggled to like Darren too as he came off both bossy and judgy, and the fact that he forced a kiss on Cassidy put him into Nope territory for me. The reveal of his backstory made him a little more sympathetic, but there are still things you do not do.

There were quite a few things here that didn’t make sense - why Lyle wanted to cover up his brakes being sabotaged instead of reporting it to the police, for one. We never did get an explanation for that, and considering who actually did it, I really don’t understand why Lyle wouldn’t report it and let the police deal with it, since he’d been cleared of earlier wrongdoing. Why he’d changed his name - that was mentioned a couple of times and then just dropped. Why Cass had a violin worth ‘half a million dollars, or maybe twice that’ just laying around unused at home when she was worried about money. I fully understand she wouldn’t sell it because of its sentimental value, but there are professional violinists who would pay good money to rent an instrument of that quality! She could have funded her entire operation at the Kettle easily on that money.

I wanted to like this; there’s not a lot of Australian-set romantic suspense around. It probably needs a brief glossary to appeal to international readers - non-Aussies won’t get what ‘the pokies’ are, for example - but considering all the things wrong with the plot and the romance, that’s a small matter. The author made the mistake of making Darren a bit too unlikable so that Cass had more reason to consider Lyle, setting up the love triangle, but it wasn’t necessary. Darren didn’t have to be perfect, but less bossy and judgy would have been useful, and then we could have had less words expended on Cass dithering about whether to trust him and more on resolving actual plot points.

There are things to like about this, but too many dropped or illogical plot threads and a hero I couldn’t warm to mean I can’t even say ‘it was okay’. Two stars is the best I can give it.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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