Poor Stella Hardesty. There she is, trying to be good, preparing for a half-marathon just before her fifty-first birthday, looking pretty good, and catching the eye of a good-looking man. But, Stella can't ever catch a break in her personal life. Once again, she's thrust into trouble in Sophie Littlefield's latest crime novel, A Bad Day for Mercy.
When Stella's sister, Gracellen calls needing help, she really doesn't know what Stella is capable of. Gracellen and her husband, Chess, received a nice little box, containing the ear of Chess' son, Chip. Chip was always a gambler, and the demand is for $30,000. So, Stella packs up the tools of her trade, a few handcuffs, a few weapons, and heads for Wisconsin, and another fine mess.
Stella may appear to be the just the owner of Hardesty Sewing Machine Repair & Sales. She also has another business that stems from her past life as an abused wife. Her second business "involved straightening out all manner of abusers and deadbeats and worthless husbands and boyfriends." So, she's prepared for all eventualities. She isn't prepared to find her nephew, Chip, and his Russian girlfriend carving up her husband's body in the kitchen. They claim they didn't kill him. And, Stella believes Chip, even if she isn't quite so sure about Natalya.
It isn't long before Stella is knee deep in trouble. When she calls up her friend and employee, Chrissy, Chrissy sums it up beautifully. "So you got two hormonal teenage boys, a bloody murder, illegal doctors, a business feud, a illegal immigrant situation, all of it circlin' around a relative you don't hardly even know, and tomorrow's your birthday. Well, ain't you managed to step into just a fine mess."
Once again, Sophie Littlefield lands Stella in trouble. It's the kind of trouble that Littlefield excels at creating, and her character excels in handling. It would take a hardened reader to resist Stella's charm, wisdom, and the humor in these capers. A Bad Day for Mercy is a true caper, an adventure that goes wrong with a character who just manages to skirt the law. Even the local sheriff, Goat Jones, has a hard time resisting Stella. Why would any reader want to resist? Stella Hardesty is a grown-up Stephanie Plum, slightly hardened from living a tough life, able to take care of herself, but a wonderful character with a heart of gold. And, A Bad Day for Mercy will just add to Stella's reputation for ingenuity and heart.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
Splish, Splash, Splosh!: David Melling
Book: Splish, Splash, Splosh! Author: David Melling (@DavidMelling1) Pages: 22 Age Range: 2-5 Splish, Splash, Splosh! by David Melling is a medium-sized boar...
Persistence in the World of Detectives
Persistence is an important trait for both fictional and real-life detectives. Can you imagine if Jessica Fletcher took on a case, only to decide after askin...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.