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Die Job by Lila Dare
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Apr 25, 2012

it was ok

This third book in the Southern Beauty Shop Mystery collection is a major disappointment from pseudonymous Lila Dare. Don't know if Dare dashed this one off to complete her three book contract or if the publishers pushed her in certain directions but the whole book is a bit of a mess. Our usually reliable detective, Grace Terhune, seems to have become one of those women who thinks all men find her attractive be they ex-husbands or imported from California school teachers or everyone in between. Maybe that's a nod to "romance novels" and who the expected audience is for this type of book in the mind of the publishers, but for someone who reads a lot of different kinds of mysteries it weakens the character of Grace and makes her less interesting. The mystery itself had some potential, with Grace acting as a chaperone for high school kids, including Rachel who works at the salon after school, visiting a supposedly haunted mansion. When Rachel's former boyfriend takes a tumble we are left with a nice number of suspects including a class full of teenagers, the other chaperones, and some parents who seem to strangely be on the scene in no time. All of the investigating might have made more sense if Rachel had been the lead detective, as the back cover of the book leads one to believe. However, for Grace to keep popping up at the local high school to ask questions is a bit unrealistic. Sure Dare invents a reason for her to be there once but would a high school really look the other way while an adult, with no children of her own, keeps walking around the high school. They would think it's odd and creepy and probably ask her to leave. Oh and I haven't even mentioned the hurricane. Or the time given to reading old letters from a woman who might have been murdered in the haunted mansion. Or the foolish ripped-from-a-Scooby-Doo-episode trap they lay for the "killer". Ok Ms.Dare #1, your contract is complete. Please collect your check and go back to writing under your real name. I hope Ms.Dare #2 tries to follow in the steps of the far superior Polished Off and not this mess.
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