Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: Killing Cupid by Laura Levine (Jaine Austen #12)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Laughs, fun, and a good mystery
Cons: Might be too wacky for some
The Bottom Line:
Matchmaker murdered
Filled with hilarity, clues
Light yet oh so fun

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Yourself Dead

When it comes to comedic mysteries, Los Angeles based freelance writer Jaine Austen tops my list of favorite sleuths.  Her adventures are always funny but the mysteries are always well done.  Killing Cupid is her 12th adventure, and it’s just as good as the others.

Always in need of a paycheck, Jaine jumps when she gets a referral to Dates of Joy, the premier matchmaking service in Beverly Hills.  Joy Amoroso, the owner, wants Jaine to write a new brochure and some copy for the website.

However, Joy is a bear to work for, scams her clients, and hordes her chocolate.  And those are her good points.  It’s hardly a surprise when Joy drops dead in the middle of her annual Valentine’s Day party.  In fact, the list of suspects includes everyone who ever met Joy.  Since Jaine is one of the suspects, she decides to jump in and find the real killer while dodging her new geriatric suitor, a man who is dating Jaine to get close to her cat, Prozac.  But who actually killed Joy?

Author Laura Levine is a former sitcom writer, and it shows in these books.  Each book stands alone, so you can jump in with any book that catches your interest.  The humor comes from wacky characters and Jaine’s asides in the breezy narration.  Plus she gets into some pretty funny situations as well.  The squirrel scene is especially good in this book.  I was laughing and smiling from start to finish.

As a result, the characters can be a bit thin at times.  I do come to care for most of them, but they don’t have quite the depth of the characters in many of the novels I read.  Still, they work for this series where the emphasis is on just having fun.

The mystery is strong here.  There is some set up of suspects before the murder takes place, so we already know who might have done it when Joy drops dead.  I suspected who the killer might be early on, but I wasn’t sure until Jaine figured it out.

As always, there is a sub-plot involving Jaine’s parents.  They live in a retirement community in Florida, and their story unfolds in a series of hilarious e-mails.  It doesn’t tie in to the main mystery, but it is fun just the same.  This time, Jaine’s Dad thinks someone is trying to woo her Mom, and it just snowballs from there.  This may be my favorite of the sub-plots yet.

So when you are ready for something light and fun, pick up Killing Cupid.  You’ll be laughing before you know it as you wait to see just who Jaine will actually catch at the killer.

While you don't need to read this series in order, if you want to do so, here's The Jaine Austen Mysteries in order.

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