Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Review: Shoes to Die For by Laura Levine (Jaine Austen #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Another funny mystery
Cons: Ending a bit rushed
The Bottom Line:
Enjoy lots more fun
Might have weakened the ending
But that's minor point

Fashionable Read

Shoes to Die For is the fourth entry in the humorous Jaine Austen mystery series. Jaine is a struggling freelance writer living in Los Angeles.

Jaine enters the world of high fashion when her neighbor Lance decides to give her a make-over. Visiting his favorite high end fashion boutique, Jaine doesn't find any clothes, but does land a potential client for her writing business. Coming in early to pitch ideas one morning, Jaine finds the body of the boutique's owner, Frenchie, with one of the woman's own stiletto heels stuck in her neck. To know Frenchie was to loath her, so the list of suspects in long. The police are zeroing in on a woman who wouldn't hurt a fly, literally. When Becky hires Jaine to clear her name and find the real killer, Jaine drops all her current writing assignments (ok, she had none anyway) to pursue the clues.

Of course, Jaine can't have one crisis in her life at a time. She seems to get in the middle of her parent's fights, even though they live on the other side of the country. This time, her father has his heart set on the lead in a play at her parent's retirement village. Her mother isn't nearly as enthused. Elsewhere, one of Jaine's memoir writing students suffers a heart attack, and best friend Kandi signs both herself and Jaine up for speed dating.

Fans of this series will love the latest entry. All the charm and sarcastic humor of the others is present. I smiled, giggle, and laughed my way through the entire book. The humor comes not only from events but Jaine's wisecracks about the proceedings or life in LA in general. Since the author, Laura Levine, is a former sit-com writer, the jokes are plentiful and funny.

Of course, the book is more then the laughs. The story is very well set up; by the time the murder takes place, you are aware of several suspects. And how can you not love such an inventive murder weapon? The plot moves forward steadily with the sub-plots never intruding for too long into the main story. The ending felt a little rushed to me and definitely could have used a few more pages to better flesh things out.

Jaine is a well developed character who is easy to like and is surrounded by a great group of supporting characters. The new characters are developed enough to serve their purpose, but could be a little better drawn. Still, this is worth noting mainly in passing.

The writing style is light and breezy, making for a fast read that won't tax you too much. It's perfect for a day on the beach or other summer vacation read.

Shoes to Die For will appeal to those who love light, funny mysteries. If that's you, this series is in fashion.

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