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Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure

(Tara Holloway #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,527 ratings  ·  228 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
Paperback, 341 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,527 ratings  ·  228 reviews

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Start your review of Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure (Tara Holloway, #1)
Elle's Book Blog
Release Date: November 2011
Genre: Cozy Mystery. Chick Lit.

I enjoyed this book. Really, I did. But it took me an entire week to read it! This has nothing to do with the books length either as it's under 350 pages, and nothing to do with the plot or characters- both were great. I just had no desire to read it from start to finish and I didn't care when I had to put it down. Being in a major book slump hasn't helped and neither have the holidays and upcoming holidays. It's just my mood wasn't
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
May 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Chanta Rand
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paperback
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
Jammin Jenny
This was a good book. I liked the narration and I liked the sex scenes with Brett and Tara. (view spoiler). It's a good bit of fluff and a fun romance read. ...more
Brooke ♥booklife4life♥

Find this review, plus more, on my blog: Booklikes OR Blogger

Basic Info

Paper back
Pages/Length: 341pgs
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reason For Reading: I wanted some cozy mystery in my life!

At A Glance

Love Triangle/Insta Love/Obsession?:
Insta a bit
Cliff Hanger: No
Triggers: n/a
Rating: 3.5 stars

Score Sheet
All out of ten

Cover: 8
Plot: 8
Characters: 7
World Building: 7
Flow: 6
Series Congruity: n/a
Writing: 7
Ending: 8

Total: 7

In Depth

Best Part:
The shoot out!
Worst Part: Nails galore
Thoughts Had: How ma
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
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?
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Definitely not a cozy, being much more 'earthy' than acceptable to strictly cozy readers. However, it was a good one. Totally fascinated by the mc's occupation and the tax evaders and criminals that she and her partner(s) and coworkers go after. I'm curious to see where the story goes, so have the second book on the WL.
Maureen DeLuca
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Not bad for a cozy. When I am in the mood for one, I will (one day) pick up the second one in this series and then decide if I go any further. There are time when I just need a cozy to de-sramble my brain!
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
Lynn Spencer
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, chick-lit
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
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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!
Eileen Lynx
Too much romance and not enough mystery
Mary Gramlich
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amateur-sleuth
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
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
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
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Kristine (A Cozy Booknook)
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery, 2015
I enjoyed this book! Tara Holloway is a spunky, feisty, confident woman that I instantly liked as well as her stake-out partner, Christina. The book quickly caught my attention and kept me turning the pages. There were a few laugh out moments, and plenty of twists and turns. I look forward to reading more in this series!
Suzie Quint
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, mystery
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.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bingo, challenge
I absolutely loved this first book in the series and look forward to reading more. I really liked Tara and her adventures. The rest of the characters were fun as well and I loved the craziness of the cases she solved as an IRS special agent.
Toledo (T.J.)
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I guess I'm not a cozy comfort mystery lover. Just a little too "girlie" for me, but a fun read none the less.
Chatting About
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
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!!
Gail Koger
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining read

Who knew internal revenue agents lead such exciting lives. Tara is a great character and there's never a dull moment.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure: Tara Holloway 1
Chronological order recommended

In A Nutshell:Tara is a gun-toting southern girly girl who works for the IRS. That is the equivalent of the Inland Revenue. So, Tara, the tax collector is assigned a mission with a D.E.A officer. Not because she is a remarkable shot, which we learn early in the book but because she is female. And her feminine wiles are needed to catch the bad guys who include an icecream van man. I found it an ugly story, and it i
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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.

Other books in the series

Tara Holloway (1 - 10 of 12 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 Satin Garter (Tara Holloway #10)
  • Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries (Tara Holloway #11)

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