This second in the “Allison Campbell Mystery” series is disappointing. It would have been nice to come back to a different kind of detecting woman — a woman whose job it is to detect — and re-configure — a social image. The image of a person is of course a mysterious thing – what makes a person resonate success or wealth or credibility? How is it possible to create or re-create such an image? So promised Killer Image, the first Allison Campbell installment, where we were introduced to a divorced, independent and slightly peculiar professional who is paid to perform character make-overs. The subject of the first job was a politician’s unruly daughter. Yes she was also accused of a crime. Yes, there were suspects: twisted and corrupt. Yet somehow, Allison Campbell of Main Line Philadelphia resonated singularity. She wasn’t a detective. She wasn’t a cop. She wasn’t a little old lady.
The second installment is indeed disappointing because it is confused, confusing and formulaic. There are clients. They are suspicious. Their families are suspicious. There is a search for the truth, then a search for lost clients, against an over-resonance of overchewed, overused relationship problems. Really. You have an ex? You still love him? You’re not sure? Your ex-mother in law is sleeping with your business partner? Why am I reading this book?
At this point the suspense is effectively over. And the book might as well be.
After much too much silly shitty giggly girly fiction, this clever, sharp, unpredictable novel about a small town female Sheriff who meets a man at a Quantico training course is a delight. The dialogue between the coupling law enforcement agents is witty, original, delicious; the supporting characters are curious and unpredictable, the clean story line is etched out like an Ed McBain procedural. Spare, lean action. Fast, frank language. No coincidences.
Ex-police chief and widow returns to her home town to help her daughter recover from a divorce and gets messily involved in a murder. Mildly uninteresting.
Private eye with basic grammar skills looks for two kidnapped girls in small town, and gets cozy with the Sheriff’s son.
Jealous, child-bearing women live and love.
A decorator who wants to sell antiques on Long Island finds a dead body will doing an inventory for a wealthy woman. Not really about decorating and not really a mystery.
Charlotte, a romance writer who has recently broken her engagement to an unfaithful beau, moves to a small town and makes friends with her neighbors and the local pastor. Very pleasantly narrated by Crystal Sershen. Story well written but a little slow.
An unusual and captivating account of a Manhattan social scene rapt by cocaine, bondage, dying gays and too much money. Vince Cardozo as the NYPD detective lieutenant who is pretty enough and straight enough to correct wrongs and fall in love at the same time…
An old, sick and unhappy man tells Jessica to write down his last wishes: sell the house, give the proceeds to my grandson. She formalizes it, he dies, the real estate agent gets to work. Jessica arranges for the hundreds of old books in the house to be sold at a library charity sale. A possible female ghost brings in a woman who ‘smudges’ the house and films the ritual for her TV reality show… Of course, a murder is announced, but afterwards and without much ado. The old man did not die a ‘natural’ death, he was suffocated in his hospital room by something with green threads…
Jessica snoops and pries and busy-bodies her way into the house and its history. While searching for old Hobart pot-boilers in the basement with her antiquarian bookshop owner friend, she finds bones, a body, and another murder still.
Reliable and punchy.
An old book, a tits and bits insurance agent, an ex-intelligence bully, a rich chick on Malibu beach, a bitter ex-girlfriend somebody called “Virgie”, a short tight crooked alcoholic cop, and a Go-Between man who gets an Eviction Notice and a letter from the Wall Street Journal saying he could get rich if only he subscribed for six months.
In six months and a week, Philip St. Ives has earned $75,000, received 2 invitations to live and play with a woman, one in NYC and one on Malibu Beach, failed but then found an old book, but not before somebody shot a bullet through it.
At the end, on his way back to New York, his trusty helper asks him if there’s anything he can study in University to help him become a Go-Between man. St. Ives thinks about it for a while and says “Ethics, you might study Ethics.”