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Under the Boardwalk


Under the Boardwalk

Carly Phillips's latest novel, UNDER THE BOARDWALK, takes the reader to New Jersey and inside the world of casinos, the Mafia, and a crazy Greek family not unlike that from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. A great beach read, this book has it all --- comedy, danger and, of course, romance --- the perfect book to take with you on vacation or read on a lazy summer afternoon.

Ariana Costas left New Jersey years ago to escape her crazy Greek family. She grew up being embarrassed by this insane group of con artists, and she did her best to be everything they weren't: conservative, proper and stable. She left behind parents, grandparents, cousins and her twin sister, all of whom seemed destined to live out their lives tied to one another by family loyalty and, quite possibly, by a jail cell. Her family was quite proud that they were all very good at making money the unconventional way. For the Costas family, there was no shame in pickpocketing or conning someone out of their money. It was all in a day's work!

When Ari returns home to try to find her missing twin sister, she accidentally runs into a very good-looking man who thinks she's her twin, Zoë. Ari finds it hard to believe that anyone can confuse her with Zoë, because Zoë is as unconventional as the rest of the family. Zoë is known as the exciting sexy sister, while Ari is the very conventional, boring one. It doesn't take too long for Quinn Donovan, undercover detective, to figure out who Ari really is. According to Quinn, Zoë is nowhere to be found, but Ari has a feeling that he knows how to help her find her sister.

Quinn and Ari's first meeting happens to occur while someone is taking a shot at Ari out on the beach, and Quinn saves her life. Once Quinn figures out who she is, he tells Ari to go home. What he doesn't tell her is that she is endangering a secret undercover surveillance, and her actions could very well get her killed if the wrong people saw her, which they already have. But Ari still does not understand why her sister is missing. All she knows is that Quinn and Zoë worked together at the Casino, and now Zoë has disappeared.

When Ari lies to Quinn and says she is returning home to Vermont and her teaching job at the University, she reappears vamped-up and hot-to-trot, and gets a job at the casino so she can do some detective work of her own to find her missing sister. In the meantime, Quinn and Ari find themselves attracted to each other, which makes matters worse. Ari thinks he is attracted to her because she is starting to dress and behave like her sister, and Quinn is worried that Ari's life is in danger. He knows that if Ari is not careful, her life could be on the line.

While their adventures at the casino is a major plot line, the action surrounding the Costas family would make a great book on its own. They are constantly up to no good. Add a pet monkey named Spank into the mix, and one has a regular circus. The subplot involving a young teenage foster child named Sam, who Quinn has always looked out for, rounds out the book.

UNDER THE BOARDWALK is the perfect book to be read during the lazy summer months. A typical beach read, the story is an escape from reality, with plenty of outlandish characters as well as a romance thrown in. The story line involving the casino and the missing sister is told in light comedy fashion, despite the heavy undertones. Anyone expecting literary fiction may want to skip this one, but for a fun and light romp, UNDER THE BOARDWALK is a sure thing.

Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton on January 24, 2011

Under the Boardwalk
by Carly Phillips

  • Publication Date: June 8, 2004
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books
  • ISBN-10: 0446532371
  • ISBN-13: 9780446532372