No Biz Like Showbiz (Lexi Carmichael #4)
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Lexi Carmichael has barely recovered from her trip to Rome but she’s had enough of sitting at home and is back at work and ready to go. And her first assignment is being sent to Hollywood to help a TV studio work out who is behind vicious hacking into their system and altering the results of a reality TV show, Geeks Get Some. Although Lexi doesn’t watch reality TV show and she’s not very impressed with the topic of this one in particular, she’s very good at finding out who a hacker is.
What she doesn’t expect is that when she discovers it looks like an inside job and that the hacker is targeting her in the most humiliating of ways, the producers want her to continue her investigation from right in the middle of things. They want her to replace the female geek on the show and actually appear in front of the cameras, going out on dates and interacting with the other geeks. Although Lexi is horrified about this, some well placed blackmail has her agreeing. It’s personal now and Lexi is going to get to the bottom of this and find out who is fixing the results.
I find with each new book, this series grows on me more and more. It’s impossible not to like Lexi, who is really quite clueless in pretty much anything other than computer security. She used to work for NSA but now works for a private company and she continually finds herself in dangerous situations due to her investigative skills regarding computers. Lexi’s life is very much complicated by the very few people who are in it. Lexi’s mother is a society type who seems to despair of her tomboyish daughter and she’d like nothing more than to see Lexi successfully matched up to an eligible young man. Lexi isn’t interested in eligible young men and she finds most social interactions excruciating anyway. But despite this, she’s not particularly without male attention. In fact, she’s almost drowning in it, between the hot Irish Finn and the uber mysterious hacker Slash who declared his love for Lexi in the previous book when they were escaping a deadly situation.
Like the books, Slash grew on me as well. I didn’t love him much in the first book but by the end of the third I was firmly in his corner and I love the direction this book takes their fledgling romance/relationship and I love the way that Lexi throws herself into situations, even when she knows she’s out of her depth, comfort wise. She isn’t afraid to ask embarrassing questions and lay it on the line and she doesn’t dance around issues or try and bluff her way through it. She does a little bit of dithering between some choices but I’m pleased to see that it looks like it isn’t going to drag out for books and books, which as a reader, ends up getting really annoying.
I have to admit, the plot of this book wasn’t one of my favourites, possibly because I’m not really a fan of “reality” TV, especially shows like this one. And I know that the story was holding a mirror up to that and how all is not as it seems and how much of it is faked or made up for the sake of ratings. But even though I didn’t mind the change of location in No Place Like Rome, I’m not sure it worked as well here, especially when everyone else started showing up. It was interesting to see Slash on the backfoot here occasionally and a bit out of his depth. He’s portrayed as so confident and so skilled at so many different things that it was good to see a few moments where he made mistakes and was clearly struggling a little bit which helps round out his character. However the arrival of Basia did have me rolling my eyes a bit. I know Lexi relies on her for help through social situations but the fact that she keeps turning up under the flimsiest of excuses is wearing a little thin. I don’t really find her a likable character. I also missed the Zimmerman twins in this one, they’re on the other end of the phone but I always love it when Lexi goes to hang out with them to chat about things. Removing Lexi from her comfort zone does have its positives though as she does power through and get the job done, despite the fact that she gets publicly humiliated in more ways than one. I’ve never really heard the term “cracking” before, which is apparently a hacker with malicious intent. I think Lexi’s solution was very much in line with her character and her soft heart.
All in all I enjoyed this book, perhaps not as much as No Place Like Rome, which remains my favourite but this one does great things in advancement of certain plots and I’m really looking forward to the next title in this series.
Book #110 of 2014