Monday, June 18, 2012

A Bad Day for Mercy by Sophie Littlefield

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.

Sophie Littlefield's website is

A Bad Day for Mercy by Sophie Littlefield. Minotaur. 2012. ISBN 9780312648381 (hardcover), 260p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


bermudaonion said...

The book sounds good and I just love the cover!

Beth Hoffman said...

I love a good caper! This is going on my list. Thanks, Lesa!

Lesa said...

All the covers of this series are fun, Kathy.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Beth. I would suggest you start with the first one in the series, though, A Bad Day for Sorry. It's an award winner, and introduced Stella.

Shelleyrae @ Book'd out said...

Glad to see the next one in the series is available!
Thanks for sharing your review

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Shelleyrae. And, I didn't give away anything that will spoil the book, even with that quick summary from Chrissy. You can learn almost that much from the book jacket.

Jane R said...

That cover sure is an attention grabber! I'm adding this to my book list and will hunt down the first book in the series to get started. I'm looking forward to meeting Stella!

Lesa said...

Once you get past what Stella does, and, I'll admit it comes as a shock, but then you understand why, you'll like Stella, Jane.