Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review: Killing Bridezilla by Laura Levine (Jaine Austen #7)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Light yet satisfying mystery with lots of laughs
Cons: Thinking...thinking.... Can't think of any.
The Bottom Line:
Horrible bride dies
Was it over the dresses?
Or more sinister?




Is It a Case of Bridesmaid Revenge?

You'd think being a freelance writer would be a safe, boring life. But Jaine Austen would be happy to tell you otherwise. Not only does she have trouble drumming up enough business to keep her rent in Southern California paid, but her assignments seem to lead to dead bodies. In fact, Killing Bridezilla is the seventh murder she's felt compelled to solve.

Of all the people from high school Jaine never wanted to hear from again, Patti Marshall topped the list. So when Patti calls with the offer of a job, it's only the pay check that gets Jaine to agree to take it.

The job is rewriting Shakespeare, turning Romeo and Juliet into a Friends like piece with a much happier ending. Patti wants these lines as the opening act for her wedding, an event that is driving everyone crazy. Seems Patti hasn't changed her evil ways from high school and she continues to bully the caterer, florist, and even one of the bridesmaids who has unfortunately gained a few pounds (okay, lots of pounds) since high school.

So when the opening act of the wedding turns into murder, the only surprise to Jaine is how it happens. Now Jaine needs to wade into a high school reunion of sorts to find out who sent Patti on her fatal plunge. Can she find the killer before it is too late?

It's no secret that I have enjoyed this series since book one. But I really do think this is my favorite book in the series to date. Everything seems to come together perfectly.

First, there are the characters. While they aren't quite real, they seem real. And they are perfect for the over the top world that Jaine inhabits. They are colorful, memorable, and seem like people we've known ourselves.

Then there's the plot. While the murder comes later in the book than I expected, the story is always moving forward at a brisk pace. The early part of the story does a good job of setting up suspects. Once the murder takes place, we move from one suspect to another quite easily, never quite figuring out who done it until the logical conclusion that took me completely by surprise. And in a series known for unusual murder weapons, the death here is going to be hard to top.

Helping things along are the laughs. There were lots of laugh out loud moments here. In fact, I had to stop a few times and read passages aloud to whoever happened to be near by. This book contains the single funniest scene in the entire book. Even the sub-plot involving her parents (which unravels by e-mail) is hysterical.

All this is held together with great writing. The style is light and breezy, which makes it go by all too quickly.

My only real complaint with Killing Bridezilla is that it is over already. The series shows no signs of slowing down. So if you are looking for a light, summer mystery, this is the perfect one to get.

While these books stand up well enough on their own, you can read the Jaine Austen Mysteries in order.

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