Saturday, July 21, 2012
Sticks & Stones by K.J. Larsen
After Cat DeLuca caught her husband cheating, she was more than capable of operating a Chicago detective agency called Pants on Fire Detective Agency. She catches liars and cheats. She might be the disgrace of her large Italian family of cops, and her mother might spend all her time praying for her thirty-year-old single daughter to find a husband, and stop taking dirty pictures, but Cat's good at what she does. She even hired a former client, Cleo Jones, after Cleo caught her husband in bed with her sister, and shot his backside full of buckshot. She told her she'd get her dog back from her cheating husband, Walter, and the money he took. But, when Cleo and Cat showed up at Walter's house, someone had already shot him. And, Cleo, captured on video screaming she was going to kill him, is the number one suspect. Cat would have been right there with her, considered an accessory, if she wasn't related to half of the local precinct.
All of Chicago might think Cleo's guilty after seeing that video, but Cat is determined to prove she's innocent. She rallies the troops, her hot FBI boyfriend, Chance Savino, Tino, owner of Tino's Deli, who was once a covert operative for the U.S. government, and Max, a friend and former colleague of Tino's, and Cat's best friend and older brother, Rocco. Men drift in and out of Cat's kitchen, as suspects pile up. Walter had a few enemies, and quite an interesting past. There's a famous Chicago designer, Walter's former boss, a childhood friend. Cat's determined to find the real killer, even as she prepares for a family wedding, and continues to spy on cheating husbands.
The Cat DeLuca mysteries have my favorite quality in a book, wonderful, quirky characters. It's enough to make a reader wish to be part of a large, loving Italian family with all that good food. The stories are filled with cops, including a cop hangout, Mickey's. Then, there's Cat, who won't settle for being a cop's wife and brood mare. She's found a job she loves, and despite her mother's prayers, she sticks to it.
The dialogue in this book creates the humor. The story is fast-paced, and Cat does not always come out on the best side of every meeting. But, those situations, her family, and the other characters are priceless.
If you're a fan of Janet Evanovich's early works, or Deborah Coonts' books, I'm recommending K.J. Larsen's Sticks & Stones. Meet Cat DeLuca, a private eye with a heart of gold in mysteries filled with humor, hot food, and hunks.
K.J. Larsen's website is kjlarsenauthor.com
Sticks & Stones by K.J. Larsen. Poisoned Pen Press. 2012. ISBN 9781590589236 (paperback), 229p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my copy of this book.