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Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure (Tara Holloway #1)

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  848 ratings  ·  150 reviews
Tara Holloway has got your number. A special agent on the IRS’s payroll, she’s dead-set on making sure that money crimes don’t pay…

Tax cheats, beware: The Treasury Department’s Criminal Investigations Division has a new special agent on its payroll. A recovering tomboy with a head for numbers, Tara’s fast becoming the Annie Oakley of the IRS—kicking ass, taking social se
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Paperback, 341 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
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Community Reviews

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Robert
From the first page to the last this was pure white trash. Not the kind that involves lawn implements, although a pink flamingo made a cameo appearance, but the kind that involves Kid Rock concerts, sucking on Buds, with half-naked women prancing around on stage and gyrating in cages with red thongs protecting the merchandise. Well, maybe not that extreme, but it felt pretty darn close, with red thongs and polka-dotted panties receiving more than just a cursory mention.

Tara and Christina would m
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Pei
Hated it and only finished to see if it gets any better. It didn't. Have you ever seen/heard/read someone/something where they just try too hard? This book is it. Every single sentence it tries so hard to be funny (or punny) and fails.

Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure is written from a first-person POV. Tara, the main character, wants to appear to be a brave Southern gun-totting tough-talking IRS special agent but in reality is just a self-absorbed woman who manages to link EVERYTHING to how g
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Chanta Rand
This book had me from the first sentence:

"When I was nine, I formed a Silly Putty pecker for my Ken doll, knowing he'd have no chance of fufilling Barbie's needs given the current state of erectile dysfunction with which the toy designers at Mattel had cursed him."

That first sentence set the tone for the entire book. The heroine, Tara Holloway gave up a plush life with a plush job and a plush office to work for the IRS. She finds herself in a series of adventures trying to take down a drug-selli
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Guilty Pleasures
To all my friends, this is an out of the norm read for me, it's classified as a mystery, written in 1st person and is going to be series about one woman and her adventures as an IRS special agent, there is a romance that is secondary to the plot, all of which are things I typically stay away from....but get this I REALLY LIKED IT!!!

If I had to compare it to something I would say the Stephanie Plum books. All I can say is....I've only read one SP book, BUT I will be reading more of the Death and
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Raymond
This girly book was chosen to read by our Decatur book club because someone thought they could get the North Texas area author to come to our meeting to do a signing at our meeting - I was prepared to despise the book; however, I thought it was entertaining!
Who knew that the IRS agent has as many or more lives than any of her cats?
Lynn Spencer
This was a fun read. There's definitely a "Stephanie Plum of the IRS" vibe about the book, but I think I ended up liking Tara Holloway more than Stephanie. For starters, even though Tara gets into some off-the-wall capers, you can't miss the fact that she's smart and competent. So, as she finds her way through working on a stakeout of a drug-dealing ice cream man, starting a new romance and investigating a Ponzi scheme that keeps leading back to said new love interest, I enjoyed being along for ...more
VJ
This is NOT a mystery. This is a romance/thriller.

That being said...I liked the heroine somewhat, but didn't care for the story, the profanity, nor the fairly graphic sex scenes.

Not my cup of tea.

Goodreads definition of a cozy mystery is as follows in the next paragraph. This book most certainly does NOT qualify as a cozy mystery.

"Cozies very rarely focus on sex, profanity or violence. The murders take place off stage, and are often relatively bloodless (e.g. poisoning), while sexual activity
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Krissy
Up until the very end of the book I would have just given it one star. The action scene at the end with the teaser for the next book (Death, Taxes, and a Skinny Latte) saved this one. I was amused by some parts of the book, but that amusement was wiped away by her writing style. Essentially this story has a (what could have been workable plot) that is drowned out by Kelly's descriptions. Throughout the book you get multiple descriptions on what people are wearing down to their accessories, manic ...more
SarahSmith
I really enjoyed this book and am definitely looking forward to the way the story progresses. The author has a very promising future and I can't wait for the next in the series. The characters seemed very realistic and relate able. I liked that fact that the main character wasn't some dumb bubble head stumbling into situations unaware of her surroundings. The only thing I didn't like about the book was since it was a new series, without established characters, a lot of back story and explanation ...more
Heidi
A fantastic blend of humor, action, and romance. This book was able to capture many of the good elements of different genres, from chick-lit to mystery, so I would recommend it to almost anyone looking for a fun girly read that has more than just fluff. By far, my favorite aspect was the heroine, Tara Holloway. Yes, she was kick-ass, but it wasn't overdone like I get so tired of reading elsewhere. She was determined to get the job done, but she was also smart, cautious, and scared when she shoul ...more
Nancy
This is a combination romance/mystery. It has as the main character IRS special agent Tara Holloway. It's more in the cozy genre, but Tara is a good shot, former tomboy who wears designer labels (bought at steep discount), and sports a french manicure. This first book in the series has Tara paired up with a female DEA agent to take down a drug dealing ice cream vendor. It gives Tara a gal pal, but the really big case is Tara's pursuit of a slick guy who may be running a Ponzi scheme. It just so ...more
Mary Gramlich
Being the best is never an easy road to walk

Tara Halloway is loving life and taking the bad guy's names to lock them up and throw away the key. As an IRS Agent, Tara's duty is to figure out the evasion and shut down the offenders, then throwing away the key. Tara's personal life is also looking fabulous with fellow agent Nick now entrenched in every part of her life expect the one place she wants him bed. Just a few more weeks and that will pan out as well when their self-imposed moratorium to c
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Ami
3.5 stars

IRS Agent!! That is something new :). This is a cozy mystery, with IRS agent Tara Halloway as the heroine. I enjoy the premise. There aren't many mystery involving an IRS agent. Doesn't mean that Tara cannot kick the ass of those criminals who are doing tax evasion though. Growing up with guns and two older brothers make Tara familiar with guns. ALTHOUGH, I have to admit that I cringe when I read Tara's five year old niece shooting with BB gun. I know that it's 'culture' in Texas, but I
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Kimberly
IRS agent. That's new. My reviews are starting to sound alike:
This was fun!
This was a quick read!
I liked the main characters as well as the side characters! I want to see what happens with them.

Having said all of that, what grabbed me in this book was Tara's occupation. Weak, I know. But I didn't feel bogged down in all the explanations. Maybe the talk of Ponzi schemes, Bernie Madoff, WorldCom and the like made it all easier to understand. I'm curious to see what happens with the next book and h
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Gretchen
This is the first in a series. It is told in first person by a woman who is an agent for the IRS.
It is advertised as the IRS's answer to Stephanie Plum. I can see that. I will definitely read the next one when it comes out at the end of this month.

First sentence: "When I was nine, I formed a Silly Putty pecker for my Ken doll, knowing he'd have no chance of fulfilling Barbie's needs given the permanent state of erectile dysfunction with which the toy designers at Mattel had cursed him."

How coul
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Elizabeth
This book would make a great beach read. The fast paced, smart writing takes you through a solid story with some twists. Tara Holloway could be the next Stephanie Plum if this this debut novel is any indication! Tara is a special agent for the Treasury Department's Criminal Investigations Division, by day. When she is off the clock, she is enjoying the finer things of life in Dallas, Texas. The next in the series is already in the oven. I see a great future for this character and this author!
Shannon
While I am impressed with the uncommon premise - my first read about an IRS special agent - and I can see the similarities to the Plum series, I must say that the female sidekick in this story just doesn't even compare to Lulu! This book was OK, but I agree with another reader in that it seems like the author was trying a little too hard. I may or may not read the next in the series.
Suzie Quint
I would probably have liked this better if I weren't so burned out on Stephanie Plum. There are a number of similarities between this book and the Plum books, and I suspect anyone who likes one will like the other.
Linda at Chatting About Cozies
I really enjoyed this fast-paced mystery. It had suspense and romance. I"'m anxious to read the other books in the Tara Holloway series now!!
Toledo (T.J.)
I guess I'm not a cozy comfort mystery lover. Just a little too "girlie" for me, but a fun read none the less.
Teena in Toronto
Tara was a CPA who wanted a more exciting job so got hired as an IRS special agent. Her job is to investigate people who aren't paying as much tax as they should. She is teamed with Christina, a DEA agent, to conduct surveillance on Joe Cool, an ice cream vendor who is suspected of selling more than ice cream from his truck. Going undercover as trashy chicks, they move into a condemned house on Joe's route and work on trapping him.

In the meantime, Tara meets Brett who is a landscaper and they st
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Sheila
Oh my gosh what a funny book. The author had me from the first sentence. The main character is a sweet petite Texas gal that totes a gun and shoots like a men. She has both skills and southern charm. I can't wait to read more books in the Tara Holloway series. If you liked the first books by Janet Evanovich, you will love this series. She has the same quick wit and hilarious circumstances that somehow seem normal to her. Diane Kelly really pulls off this book and ties it all up with lots of humo ...more
Madison Warner Fairbanks
Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly

A delightful romping adventure. Or misadventure might be more appropriate for this book. It's the first in the series about an IRS investigator doing her job as a rookie and getting caught in circumstances that may require the use of her sidearm. But ugh, that would require forms to be filled out!
I thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted story. Who knew the IRS could provide laughs? I definitely look forward to reading the rest of this series and f
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Tina
I won this for free from another website contest. This is my first book from Diane Kelly and it will not be my last. This was very good with a lot of love, laughter, a whole bunch of money and mishaps. If anything can go wrong it usually does.

Tara was raised as a tomboy with her brothers, learning to accurately shoot a gun to hit anything she aims at. She left her quiet job as a CPA to become a Special Agent for The Treasury Department's Criminal Investigations Division. Basically she's an IR
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Meg
Tara Holloway has traded in her safe job at a large accounting firm for the somewhat more exciting life as a Special Agent for the IRS. She thinks that the change wont be much -- just enough to get her out more than her cubical at the firm did -- but she quickly realizes the IRS job is a bit more intense. On one of her first major investigations, she's accosted by a large mechanic with a box knife -- which leaves her with six stitches and a firearm discharge report to fill out. The encounter qui ...more
Laura
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. I can say both good and bad things about this book. Overall very entertaining and fast and easy to read. It was a mystery with a little chick-lit romance. The main character, Tara Holloway seemed a little too preoccupied with making sure her nails were perfect at all times even when she was going after the bad guy. Although she was obsessed with guns and shooting them her nails were always perfect. What I did not really care for in the story line was the ...more
Jill
One review likened it to the Stephanie Plum series. Good call, but not as annoying in that Tara is not bouncing between two men and no cars die in this book. Tara can add up a column of numbers faster than Superwoman and shoot her Glock with deadly accuracy while also being able to walk in stilettos without spraining an ankle. Light-hearted fun and the first book in the series.
Anna
I enjoyed this book a great deal. Definitely worth the read, and I'll be reading all of her books. 2 parts that I didn't quite like, but not enough for me to stop reading. I'm not a romance/sex novel reader, and there are at least 2 places where she spends pages describing the hot and heavy between Tara and Brett. I skipped over many pages. Also, a lot of repetition about Tara's worry and obsession. I guess that's how our brains work so it's a mirror of reality, but a little overboard for readin ...more
Softymel
Tara Halloway est un agent spécial de l'IRS, l'agence américaine qui récolte les taxes pour le gouvernement. C'est original, ça change du FBI ou de la CIA! Tara poursuit donc les dangereux personnage qui ne payent pas leur taxes...

Cependant, l'histoire n'est pas vraiment centrée sur les enquêtes, même si elles sont bien présentes dans le livre, mais plutôt sur le personnage de Tara Halloway, sa vie, ses amours,...

Globalement j'ai plutôt passé un bon moment, l'histoire se lit bien, et l'héroïne e
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Lacey
I have to say in the end this book was completely mediocre for me. Everything about it was just 'O.K.' Nothing was phenomenal and nothing was terrible. I'm not much of an accounting person so when she rambled on about the tax evasion scheme that was the main plot of the story I found myself drifting off...... But then again I did know it was about a tax agent before I started reading it so I blame that part on myself. The character was well developed but her love interest was waaaay too perfect. ...more
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Award-winning author Diane Kelly writes romance and romantic mysteries featuring feisty heroines, quirky sidekicks, and sexy leading men, with humor that leaves readers laughing out loud.
More about Diane Kelly...

Other Books in the Series

Tara Holloway (9 books)
  • Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte (Tara Holloway, #2)
  • Death, Taxes, and Extra-Hold Hairspray (Tara Holloway, #3)
  • Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria (Tara Holloway, #4)
  • Death, Taxes, and Hot-Pink Leg Warmers (Tara Holloway, #5)
  • Death, Taxes, and Green Tea Ice Cream (Tara Holloway, #6)
  • Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs (Tara Holloway, #7)
  • Death, Taxes, and Cheap Sunglasses (Tara Holloway, #8)
  • Death, Taxes, and a Chocolate Cannoli (Tara Holloway, #9)
Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte (Tara Holloway, #2) Death, Taxes, and Extra-Hold Hairspray (Tara Holloway, #3) Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria (Tara Holloway, #4) Paw Enforcement (K9, #1) Death, Taxes, and Hot-Pink Leg Warmers (Tara Holloway, #5)

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“Daddy had a strict rule about firearms. Anything we killed we had to eat. No amount of barbecue sauce would make a hairy guy like you palatable.” 14 likes
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