Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Review: Killer Blonde by Laura Levine (Jaine Austen #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Humor; Story
Cons: Characters can be weak
The Bottom Line:
Humor and story
Characters on the weak side
Still, it's a fun read

Did the Blonde Do It?

Freelance writer Jaine Austen lives assignment to assignment. That's why, when Jaine gets the phone call, she thinks she's hit the mother lode. SueEllen Kingsley wants a ghost writer for her party planning and recipe book and is willing to pay three thousand dollars a week. With visions of opening a savings account, Jaine quickly agrees.

But Jaine soon finds that working for SueEllen is hardly worth the effort. The woman is mean to all around her, especially her stepdaughter. Heidi has the nerve to commit the biggest sin in all of Los Angeles; she's over weight. For the extremely wealthy like SueEllen, that just can't be forgiven. After watching the two of them for a few days, Jaine is ready to quit. But when she arrives at SueEllen's mansion to resign, she finds her employer dead. With the police focusing on Heidi, Jaine steps in to find the real killer.

Meanwhile, her parents are having another crisis. Seems her father has bought a used toupee that looks horrid and insists on wearing it at all times. Can Jaine help her mother from three thousand miles away?

Having read the previous two books, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. I was once again rewarded with a hilarious book with a great mystery. The plot moved quickly and left me plenty confused. I never would have guessed the killer, yet Jaine logically arrived at the solution.

Starting with book two, the author has started throwing in an e-mail sub-plot involving Jaine's parents. They are there for no reason then the humor. This one is especially funny with an even funnier outcome. Think broad comedy. I often find myself looking forward to these frequent two or three page breaks from the story.

Laura Levine is the queen of the one-liner. I was laughing the entire way through the story. Granted, some of the one-liners are in Jaine's wonderful first person narration and not actually said. Jaine does find herself in some rather funny situations along the way as well.

Jaine is charming and sympathetic heroine, and you can't help but root for her to solve the latest puzzle. The new characters can tend to be a bit shallow, but they work for the story. Most of the supporting cast is reduced to cameos here, but it's nice to hear the latest with them.

If you have never met Jaine Austen before, you are in for a treat with Killer Blonde. This is a wonderfully charming series that fits well in the world of the cozy or the chick-lit mysteries. Once you get started, you'll want to read them all.

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