Loose Screw is the first book in the Dusty Deals Mystery series by Rae Davies and Lori Devoti. Lucy Mathews is crime reporter turned antiques dealer. She is not a big fan of confrontation, and does her best to keep everyone happy. When Lucy trips over the body of a buckskin-clad relics trader, her ex-boss asks her to cover the story. She tries to tell him no, but old habits die hard and soon she finds herself directly in the path of a killer and the exasperating, if attractive, detective in charge. Can Lucy catch a killer or is this the last confrontation for her?
Loose Screw was a mixed bag for me. I loved the mystery portion, and can relate a little to a main character that often has a hard time telling the people around her no. However, I think that Lucy's character occasionally crossed the line from sweet girl trying to stand up for herself, to utter doormat willing to let hot guys talk down to her. The mystery was awesome, there were lots of little clues and red herrings through out the book to keep me thinking and guessing. Some of the secondary characters added great color and interest to the story and the setting, while also giving Lucy a bit of a safety net. However, I was let down by the romance aspect of the story, doubting sometimes which way it was going to go and how the relationship would solidify. Honestly, I never felt like the connection was ever made beyond Lucy thinking he was attractive but infuriating, and him being generally condescending and thinking Lucy needed to be protected from herself.
Loose Screw was a quick read with some great elements, particularly in the setting and mystery aspects, but if you are quickly annoyed with misogynistic romance then you might want to give it a pass.