Saturday, May 18, 2013

Book Review: Thugs and Kisses by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Odelia Grey #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, entertaining plot
Cons: Pacing once or twice and use of coincidence
The Bottom Line:
Mysteries, romance
This book balances them both
Entertaining read




Most Likely to be Murdered at a High School Reunion

Most people make New Year's Resolutions to give up bad habits and gain good habits.  And, yes, I make some of those, too.  But one of my goals for 2010 was to catch up on Sue Ann Jaffarian's great books.  And I got off to a good start since I finished Thugs and Kisses, the third in her Odelia Grey mysteries in January of the year.  Odelia is an Orange County, California based paralegal who just happens to stumble upon dead bodies.

Odelia is attending her 30th high school reunion.  She's upset when she sees the theme, a recreation of the class' senior prom.  Thanks to Donny Oliver, prom night is one night Odelia has no desire to relive.  But right in the middle of all the festivities and memories, Donny is murdered.  And this latest corps is just another in a long line of things that are driving a wedge between Odelia and her boyfriend, Greg, a man Odelia thought she would marry.

Meanwhile, Odelia's boss, Mike Steele, has vanished.  While Mike is an egotistical jerk of a lawyer, Odelia does care for him.  At the request of the senior partners, she starts looking for the missing man.  Can she find Mike?  Who killed Donny?  And can she work things out with Greg?

Just in case you were wondering, yes, there is lots that happens in this book.  Between the three competing stories, there is rarely a dull moment.  Once or twice, things did get a little stalled, but Odelia was also frustrated with the dead ends, so I felt better.  Things certainly picked up for the climax, which had me turning pages quickly to see how it would end.  The plot relied a little bit on coincidence, but it wasn't too bad.

I've already fallen in love with the characters in the series, and one of my favorites is Greg.  Maybe that is partially why I sided with him in the fight he had with Odelia.  But honestly, she was pretty stupid.  Either way, that plot line really helped flesh out their characters.  Having said that, Greg did take a back seat in this book, and I missed him.  Frankly, most of the supporting players could have been around more.

But the characters we do get are well developed.  Odelia continues to grow into a strong person.  Since one of the stories revolves around work, we get to see more of her professional life, which is nice for a change.  The new characters were developed enough for their part in the story, which made me miss the supporting characters much less.

Despite some of the drama in the story, there are some pretty funny moments, too.  Odelia's reactions to some of the revelations near the end were especially funny.

Thugs and Kisses is another great book from Sue Ann Jaffarian.  I always enjoy spending time in Odelia's company.

Like me, once you start, you'll read the Odelia Grey Mysteries in order.

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