Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Review: Last Writes by Laura Levine (Jaine Austen #2)


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fast paced mystery with fun character and lots of laughs
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Jaine joins TV staff
But it's not all fun and laughs
Well, it is for us




Will a Killer Get the Last Laugh?

Last Writes is the second adventure for Jaine Austen. She makes a living as a freelance writer, if you can call barely making the rent on her cheap Southern California duplex making a living. Still, she does manage to keep her head above water and keep her sense of humor no matter what life throws her way.

Jaine is thrilled when her friend Kandi gets her an assignment writing an episode of the syndicated sitcom Muffy 'n Me. And, if this goes well, it might even be a permanent job. With visions of Malibu beach homes in her head, Jaine starts work. Her dream dims a little when she encounters the cast fighting and poor working conditions. But it becomes a nightmare when one of the stars is poisoned during the filming of the first scene of her script. With Kandi as the prime suspect, Jaine must find out who the real killer is to keep her friend from going to jail.

I enjoyed the first booking this series, but I liked this one more. It's light and fun, definitely for the humor mystery crowd. Jaine's narration is loads of fun, contrasting what she wants with what really happens. The writing is fine, and the book just flies by.

The characters are lively and well developed. All the secondary characters from the first book are back, from the memory writing octogenarians to Lance, the neighbor with x-ray hearing. They add some wonderful bits of humor. We are also introduced to a bunch of new characters. Most of them are a tad on the two dimensional side, but that's not a huge issue. They serve their purpose as suspects and keep the story and laughs coming. Considering that author Laura Levine used to write for sitcoms, I wonder how many of these characters are composites of people she's known of the years. Either way, it does help bring the backstage setting to life.

The plot was great. It twisted so many ways that I still had no clue who had done it until the end

This book also introduces an e-mail sub-plot involving Jaine's parents, a feature that carries over to the other books in the series. It's just a page or two scattered between every so often sharing their correspondence as Jaine attempts to referee for her parents from 3000 miles away. This go around, her dad is convinced that her mom is having an affair, even though she isn't. How it unfolds is hilarious.

Some of the jokes and events are of a sexual nature, so the book is best for adults and teens that are mature enough for that kind of content.

That one warning aside, this is a fun series. If you enjoy laughing in the face of death, Last Writes is for you.

And you'll want to read the rest of the Jaine Austen Mysteries in order.

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