For Rent, by Erin Huss

What’s another word for concierge/shrink/garbage collector/warden/adult daycare director? Apartment manager, of course!

When Cambria Clyne—a single mom down on her luck—gets the job as apartment manager at an L.A. apartment complex, she believes her life is turning around. But between having to talk to the retired couple in Apartment 22 about their loud bedroom “activities” and babysitting the owner’s man-child who lives in Apartment 40, Cambria realizes the job is nothing like she’d imagined.

When crime takes over the community, Cambria adds “detective” to her list of duties, determined to find the criminals terrorizing the residents and threatening her job. Joining her efforts are rival Chase, the gorgeous not-so-handy maintenance man, and Tom, her one-time-love baby daddy. As the case unravels and tensions increase, Cambria finds that perhaps she’s been a naïve accomplice all along…

If you like the lovable in-over-their-heads heroines of Sophie Kinsella’s stories, with a little Janet Evanovich cozy mystery thrown in, you’ll love this hilarious look at the adventures of a feisty gal trying to keep her crazy job and find love. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

Having worked in property management for over a decade, I was very excited to read about Cambria’s experiences. I haven’t been part of that world in a few years, and I was looking for nostalgia, a way to relive my own zany and bizarre experiences. Erin Huss didn’t disappoint. ReadingFor Rent was like time warping back into my own days of dealing with residents, the highs and lows that come from trying to perfect your customer service skills, but never feeling as though you can make everyone happy, because there is no such thing.

Cambria discovers all this, and more, while trying to learn the ropes on a property that the former manager couldn’t wait to retire from. Soon, she finds herself smack dab in the middle of a crime scene, and while she knows it’s best to let the authorities handle it, she can’t help but try to solve the crime on her own. It’s that, or find herself on the unemployment line, something she can’t bear to deal with. She’s got more than herself to think about. She needs to provide for her young daughter.

What I loved most about For Rent, was the realism behind the story. To those outside the biz, some of the antics of the residents might seem far-fetched, yet those of us in the know have quite a few stories of our own we could share. I’ve dealt with residents and their bedroom “activities”, or the neighbors who have been grandfathered in because their relatives manage or own the property, so they feel the rules don’t apply to them. I’ve also had to work through various crimes at even the best of properties, so it was easy for me to relate with Cambria, but even those who have never stepped foot in an apartment community’s office can identify with Cambria’s struggle to survive in a world she’s been thrown into. It truly is a crazy, fun adventure, and well worth the ride!

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

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