Saturday, May 9, 2009

Shop till You Drop ~ Elaine Viets

Courtesy of Elaine's Website...

By eleven-oh-two, all the special guests had arrived. Helen popped the first champagne cork. It was like she had fired a starter's pistol. The five women bought as if shopping was a competition sport, an Olympic event. They spent like drunken congressmen with taxpayers' money. The clothes Tara bought cost more than Helen made in a year at Juliana's. Niki beat her in the shopping sweepstakes. Brittney spent more than both women combined.

The women spent with style. They tried on dresses that laced fetchingly up the front like corsets, or bared elegant backs. Skirts were slit to the thigh. Blouses showed off smooth shoulders or slender waists.

The fabrics were rich or sheer or so frothy you wanted to dive into them. The colors were edible. Tiffany bought a delectable peach slip dress. It's stylish on her, Helen thought. I'd look like I was in my underwear. Sharmayne came out in a severe black Chanel suit piped in white, and black ankle-strap heels straight out of a bondage catalogue. The effect was incredibly sexy. Everyone applauded, and Sharmayne did a catwalk strut through the store.

They are so beautiful, Helen thought. They're like flowers in an exotic garden. Except one of these beauties could be a killer. She looked at the gorgeous women laughing and sipping champagne. She wondered which one murdered that poor woman and let her rot in Biscayne Bay.

She also wondered why she was trying to trap this killer. Was she nuts? The fear began crawling in her guts again. I'm playing Nero Wolfe, she thought, but I forgot he had Archie Goodwin when he sat in a room with a killer. Not me. I'm getting them drunk. I'm unarmed and desperate.

Shop till You Drop is one of the best, laugh your butt off mystery books out there. Helen Hawthorne is one of the most impressive characters to come along in the saturated amateur sleuth genre. Elaine Viets has made her Dead-End Job mysteries must read. No matter what is going on.

When I first stumbled upon Elaine Viets it was a lazy Sunday afternoon in May. The local paper had a review about Shop Till You Drop. I wanted it. Immediately. I called my area bookstore because they knew who I was & always took care of me. lol. Well, they had no copies in stock & wanted to order me a copy ~ nope, it wasn't good enough. I wanted this book... now.

I was going through of one of my moody reading spells where you just couldn't find the right book to read & every unread book on your shelf just wasn't calling you. Shop till You Drop was shouting to be read.

The bookstore didn't want to lose a customer, so they were kind enough to call area stores to see if they had any copies in stock. Well, it seems everyone wanted this book ~ darn bookstores for not stocking enough copies. Finally, a book miracle... one of the chains had one left. My husband (fiance' @ the time) was on call, but drove the truck 20 miles to pick up the book w/ my mom in tow. This way if he got a call she could grab the book & wait until he was clear.

Well, I read it ~ in one sitting. I believe one of the reasons I think the Stephanie Plum series is a total snore fest is Elaine Viets. She is one of the reasons I am so darn spoiled by excellent writing, laugh-out-loud amusing adventures & characters so vile or so endearing you just want them to be real.

Elaine Viets' Dead-End Job Mysteries are addicting... like grapes, peanuts, potato chips or M&M's... one just will not do.

No one knows South Florida like Ms. Viets. She describes the local flavor w/a kaleidoscope of colors.

With every book in the Dead-End Job series I have to remind myself I am not in Fort Lauderdale. I can't just pop over & visit some of the most winsome characters to come along in any genre in a long time. No hanging @ the Tropic apartments w/ Helen, Margery, Peggy, Pete & Phil... Well... sorta Phil.

For me, the most disappointing thing about this series is I can't lounge beside the pool @ the Coronado.

Ms. Viets creates such vivacious characters, I was tempted to go for a stroll along Las Olas Boulevard & ring the bell @ Julianna's. I just wanted to see Christina up close.

Helen Hawthorne is one of the most riotous, sensational & vivid characters you'll ever encounter.
The cast of secondary characters are delectable, whimsical & priceless.

Elaine's plotting is ingenious & her wicked sense of humor is reason enough to pick up Shop till You Drop.

This is definitely a series lovers of the cozy genre should scoop up & readers in search of incredible story telling should rush out to grab Shop till You Drop. Hurry go grab it. Heck, who am I kidding, order all of the books now. The only thing you will regret is waiting an entire year for the next hilarious mystery adventure w/ Helen & company.

Check out Elaine @

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