Book Reviews

Femme Faux Fatale (Dreamspun Desires) by Susan Laine at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 28-November-2018

Book Blurb

Mystery. Murder. Men in silk stockings. Hollywood nights are heating up. 


Hardboiled Los Angeles PI Cain Noble is hired by wealthy and gorgeous Camille Astor to find her husband and a priceless work of art, both of which have disappeared.


At the nightclub owned by Mr. Astor, Cain encounters the mesmerizing Lily Lavender, who has the body of a goddess and the sultry voice of an angel—but is really a young man named Riley who attracts trouble like a magnet.


What’s a private dick in the vein of LA’s bygone era and a cross-dressing burlesque starlet to do when faced with the hidden decadence and lethal dangers of the Hollywood Hills? They have their work cut out for them because they haven’t even scratched the surface of an elaborate scheme more twisted than anyone could ever have imagined.


Book Review

From the very beginning of this clever and suspenseful mystery, the author manages to paint a perfect picture of the environment, the characters, and the kind of “adventure” I entered when I opened the book. The first sentence made me smile: “It was a bright and sunny day. It always was in LA. It was never dark and stormy.” The main character, a PI named Cain, has a bad headache from last night’s stakeout, owns a “rickety, creaking fake-leather office chair”, but the smoke that fills the office comes from incense he burns to hide the fact that the building smells old. See what I mean? Very descriptive, definitely reminiscent of “old Hollywood” black-and-white movies, if not film noir, and with the kind of understated sense of humor that I love.

Okay. So, Cain. He’s a tough guy, not into relationships, and good at his job. When he takes on the job of finding a wealthy woman’s husband, he doesn’t expect to pulled into a sinister scheme that keeps him on his toes as he tracks down the perpetrators. Meeting a cross-dressing performer named Riley is one thing but the attraction Cain soon feels for the trouble-magnet is as much a shock as what he finds going on in the nightclub where it all starts.

From kidnappings that might not be what they seem to people who are definitely who they look like at first glance, from lies and deceit to outright murder, this is a story you will either love or not know quite what to do with. I liked the combination of a (to me) confusing and always surprising whodunit with some very interesting characters and multiple twists. Even without being a connoisseur of the film noire genre I was able to appreciate the ambiance the author created, and Cain’s “voice” and point of view were a huge part of that. He is anything but cuddly or fluffy, but his gruffness added to the surprise when he learns that he likes Riley dressing in silky undergarments and women’s clothing makes him very human.

If you like mysteries with a touch of the 1940s, if you prefer plots that twist and turn until you’re not sure who is lying to whom and about what, and if you’re looking for a read that is as entertaining as it is suspenseful, then you will probably like this novel.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 240 pages/58938 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 20-November-2018
Price $4.99 ebook, $9.99 paperback, $9.99 bundle, $10.47 Audible
Buy Link