This series is cursed with an entirely unattractive main character. Some authors do that on purpose, conscious of their protagonist as an anti-hero. Davidson, however, presents Goldy Schultz as someone we are supposed to like and respect and seems unaware that no sensible person would want anything to do with her on any level of intimate friendship or family tie.
Most of Davidson's plots are interesting, but they are advanced by having the main character behave like a melodramatic moron. In "Fatally Flaky," which could describe her heroine as much as any plot element, Davidson waits until page 165 to have Goldy commit her first felony (theft of a valuable piece of jewelry from a crime scene), but they come thick and fast after that. And why does Goldy swipe this item, when she could have pointed it out to a cop standing five feet away? Why does she steal it, handle it, and take it away from the scene, break the chain of custody? No particular reason. She just wants to bring it home to her cop husband, who could perfectly well have looked at it in the evidence locker. Now he has to go to work and explain that his wife stole it, and therefore it's useless in court, but that she meant well. Yeah, right. And there are no repercussions for him or for her over this. Yeah, RIGHT.
The crime spree continues. Goldy steals that $50K jewelry item. She breaks into a house and steals a gold clock. She sneaks into a country club to swipe evidence instead of letting the cops know it's there so they could acquire it legally. She trespasses here, there, and everywhere. She obstructs justice by withholding physical evidence more times than I can keep track of. She vandalizes costly camera equipment while trying to rob, er, "investigate," another location. At least she doesn't steal a stranger's car, as she did in the prior book. No charges are ever brought.
Goldy gets brutally slapped across the face in front of hundreds of witnesses, but having the perp arrested never crosses her mind. When she's breaking into a home where she has no legal right to be (despite having a key) and gets whacked in the head by the frightened owner, THEN she considers filing assault charges. And hey...what about her background as a domestic violence survivor? Shouldn't we expect a stronger response to the first assault here?
And she lies. She lies to everyone, sometimes for no apparent reason, but most especially to her husband, Tom. She'll look him in the eye, make a promise, and break it five minutes later with no regret at all. That's the behavior of a sociopath, not a responsible spouse. Twice Davidson has Goldy come home to find faithful Tom getting drunk in the kitchen while he awaits his wayward wife. I'd hope this is a plot development -- that she's driving him to drink, and eventually, he'll walk out on her as she richly deserves -- but nope, Davidson never shows or even hints at a bit of remorse on Goldy's part over her willful contempt for marital trust. I understand the need for dramatic tension, but they need to fight about something other than her felonies and falsehoods -- something like Goldy's neurotic smothering of her teen son, for example. Only in fiction would these two stay together.
There was an awful lot of alcohol abuse in this installment. Almost every adult character except for young vegetarian chef Julian drinks heavily, some enough to vomit, including characters who usually don't overindulge, such as Goldy and Tom. Finally - and I have to be careful not to give you a spoiler - this particular plot has a whopping medical flaw in it. All I can say here is, a week is not enough, but maybe this is forgivable for fiction's sake.
These books have done very well, and Davidson could surely hire a lawyer-editor to keep her sleuth on the right side of the law. She chooses not to. It's ridiculously insulting to her readers. Were it not for the intriguing sidekick characters Julian and, to a lesser extent, chubby millionaire Marla, there would be nothing of interest here. Goldy's a criminous narcissist and all-around egomaniac with contempt for both law and truth, her husband's a doormat, and her son exists solely so that Goldy can pitch histrionic fits about his whereabouts from time to time. Blessedly, he was off-screen for much of this book. I liked that part.
For a much, much funnier bridal mystery, go for Donna Andrews' MURDER WITH PEACOCKS.