by Cynthia Chow
After a recent tumultuous events, Southern California real estate agent Darby Farr is thrilled to have the opportunity to spend time visiting her boyfriend in New York. Miles Porter is a British investigative journalist and visiting professor at Columbia University, and he is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to borrow an exclusive, and very expensive, apartment at Central Park Place. They will both be distracted by Miles' student Natalia Kazakova, who lives in the same building and is writing an investigative paper on Russian revolutionary war art theft and its ties to the Russia's Federal Security Service.
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When Natalia's fiancée is murdered soon after a confrontation with Miles, a jealous secretary he spurned puts Miles in the hot seat and Darby once again finds herself in the middle of a murder instigation. Central Park Place is a beacon for incendiary emotions. The purchase of Natalia's apartment robbed another agent out of a million dollar commission, another resident seems willing to kill for an extra one-thousand square footage, and a terrorized Russian resident holds decades-old secrets.
Doudera immerses readers in the competitive world of real estate while also sharing a considerable amount of fascinating historical lore of New York neighborhoods. Viewpoints change frequently as the author successfully introduces many characters without confusing the story or interrupting the pace of the novel. Darby is an extremely intelligent character, and with her Japanese mother and American father's mixed race marriage as an example, she is learning to risk more in her personal life even as her professional one continues to challenge her. Darby still has an unresolved situation to face back home, but now that she has decided on a promising personal path it looks as though she will have the support and strength to meet the needy demands of clients, her staff, and her friends.