Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Bear with me as I begin this review with the story. I promise it will set up Lucy Score’s newest book, Riley Thorn and the Dead Guy Next Door aka for purposes of this review RTDGND. Whew! That’s a mouthful. Anyways, I woke up this morning after having fallen back to sleep. In the back of mind, RTDGND has lived since I finished the story yesterday. I woke up with my heart pounding because I had had a dream about people who 1) I haven’t seen in some time and 2) had died in my dream. With RTDGND influencing my thinking, I instantly thought, am I a psychic like Riley? Is this a vision? Will I find out that the person who had died in my dream had actually died? If you’re currently confused, well, again, this is the set up to this book. Because Lucy Score’s newest book, Riley Thorn and the Dead Guy Next Door is a wild ride, a rollercoaster ride, and a professional boxing match of witticisms all wrapped up into one.
Now, you’re probably thinking “really, Professor A?” All of that? Yes.
First of all, I adored this book EVEN though it took me longer to read than most of the romances I’ve read thus far. This has everything to do with the density of banter in this story. Her hero, Nick Santiago, and her heroine, Riley Thorn. To say that these two are an unlikely pair is an understatement. Call it opposites attract. Whatever trope works for you. These two together are romance dynamite. Their repartee keeps your head bouncing back and forth. Add into it a cast of outrageous characters: Riley’s psychic family, Nick’s business, Riley’s “roommates”, and this story feels boundless at times. As such, there is so much that happens in this story that it felt like I lived in it longer than most, and I adored it. It feels like all the words give you your “money’s worth” if you’re ever concerned you buy too many books and finish them in a big gulp like I do.
Secondly, this book is so zany. That’s really the word. Yes, there is romance in this book, but to be honest with you, Nick and Riley are a serious slow-burn couple, and the story, while it hints at it often, isn’t really about the physical. At its more basic level, it’s a suspense. There is a mystery to be solved, intertwined with clear messages about individualism and embracing life. See, that’s the beauty of a Lucy Score rom-com. Even when she writes a story that makes you chuckle from your toes, there is always a point, a gravity to it that you think could be lost in the quirk of her story. But it isn’t.
Because at its depth, Riley is challenged to embrace who she is. Without revealing too much, Riley is a psychic in denial. She doesn’t want people to see her as “not normal,” so she denies her gift to appear normal. However, in doing so, she denies a greater depth of living. In fact, she’s stagnant, unhappy, and unfulfilled. Similarly, Nick, while more adventurous and risk-taking than Riley, is also living a very generic life. He believes he’s living his best life until Riley, and then he realizes through the course of the story that his life is missing color. In that intersection is the idea that our best lives are lived when we embrace ourselves and the people around us.
So…if you’re like me, and you read Riley Thorn and the Dead Guy Next Door, you might find moments when you question if you have Riley’s abilities. You might believe that your visions will come to light, yet what this book actually suggests is that it doesn’t really matter as long as you live your best life with the people around you right now.
This book will make you laugh out loud; it will keep you guessing; and you will want more of this crazy, fun world.
In love and romance,