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The Starr Sting Scale

(Candace Starr #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  35 reviews
A hard-drinking former hitwoman agrees to help catch a killer — though the murderer might just be her.

Candace Starr likes to think of herself as retired since she got out of prison. That’s until society maven Kristina Corrigan tries to hire her to permanently remove her daughter’s barnacle of a boyfriend, Tyler Brent, from their lives. The only catch? Tyler is seventeen ye
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 15th 2020 by Dundurn Press
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  93 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Starr Sting Scale is the first in what promises to be a terrific hard-edged crime fiction series. Witty, irreverent, nasty, unrelenting dark crime fiction about a recently released hit woman with more skeletons in her closet than Davy Jones' locker. There's always a question for crime fiction fans whether a true crime fiction can star a woman or is it a ground only claimed by men. Make no mistake. At six foot three, Candace Starr is more woman than most men can handle. Somehow the author Cin ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Candace Starr is a "retired" hit woman. (personal assassin, please!) She states,"I'm not in the game anymore...cooling my jets since prison, working at the E-Zee Market and keeping a low profile." Fat chance. Society maven Kristina Corrigan seeks Candace out. She agrees to pay Candace to "off" her daughter's boyfriend, Tyler Brent. "He is a parasite. A barnacle affixed to the hull of society with no purpose or design." "Ten thousand...delivered like I tell you", says Candace. "So much for retire ...more
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I can pretty much guarantee you’ve never met a character like Candace (don’t call me Candy) Starr. In a nutshell she’s a 6’3” hard drinking, foul mouthed ex-con with a diverse resume. Before she went to prison, she was a killer-for-hire. Her father was a hitman & just like any proud papa, he brought his kid into the family business. Now she lives alone above the E-Zee Market where she mans the counter & bounces meth heads who frequent the store.

But it can be hard to shake your reputatio
This book is just.... Lmao... Just no... It's clunky, gets expositional when it doesn't need to and not forgetting the bigotry.

Candace is a retired hit woman who is approached by a stepford wife to off the daughter's boyfriend. The money is tempting but she decides not to do it because she doesn't like the idea of offing a kid. It doesn't even matter since the boy is found dead later and a cop, the most inept waste of skin since the mayor of townsville, ropes Candace in to try and solve the mur
Jacob Proffitt
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm going to lazy-out on this one because Sherwood said all the necessary/right things in her review. She doesn't do ratings, but for me, this was four stars, largely because I just couldn't put it down, it was so captivating!

A note about Steamy: Okay, I'll add this tag. There's no romance, but some sex and enough explicit to tag it. I hate to call it gritty because . . . ow. But it's gritty...
Marcus Kennedy
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was a rollicking ride from start to finish. Lean and mean prose peppered with witty asides that caused me to laugh out loud while reading it. Candace Starr is like a cross between The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and that crazy ex-girlfriend you had in college that you couldn't get enough of. Dark and hard-boiled crime fiction for sure, but tempered with the main character's uniqueness of spirit and a sub-plot of her relationships with her quirky "family" and the solid but intriguing ch ...more
Sherwood Smith
Feb 17, 2020 added it
Shelves: mystery
Candace Starr is a retired hit woman who is approached in the early pages by a helmet-haired soccer mom to snuff her high school aged daughter's loser of a boyfriend. Candace refuses to off a seventeen-year-old, but the boy is found dead anyway, and Candace is first on the suspect list, as the local police know very well what Candace's former career was--a family business, you might say.

The detective in charge of the case is Malone, an Asian woman who takes no crap from Candace, or from the wor
Mike Finn
''The Starr Sting Scale' by C. S. O'Cinneide (2020), kicks off a new slick, hard-edged but witty crime series about Candace Starr, a former professional hitwoman, trying to retire and not quite getting there.

We first meet Candace when a woman is trying to hire her to 'remove' someone difficult. Here's a sample of Candace's interior dialogue at that point.

'Difficult husbands are a speciality of mine. Rarely, in my line of work, do you run into a husband who isn't difficult in some way. The cheat
C.S. O’Cinneide
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Candace Starr, a not-so-retired hitwoman with a taste for bourbon delivers a rocking good time in this first of a three-part series. Hard-boiled crime fiction with a dark feminine twist, the action comes fast and furious, as do the witty asides. If people have even half as much fun reading it as I did writing it, then my work is done!
Erin Ruddy
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A witty, irreverent crime novel that is simply a ton of fun to read! Candace Starr is a hard-drinking, semi-retired hit-woman who finds herself working alongside the cops to solve a young man's murder. You'll be laughing out loud, and thoroughly gripped, until the very last page. ...more
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
★ ★ ★ 1/2 (rounded up)
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
When a book is named for a scheme to rate pain from insect stings, you know it's not going to be a feel-good kind of read. C.S. O'Cinneide delivers the kind of book you'd expect from that title and readers are the beneficiaries.

Candace Starr is the daughter of a hitman who followed in her father's footsteps. She spent a few years in prison, and now released, she's trying to retire. Her days are full of drinking, sleep
Denise Boyd
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Candace Starr a retired hit woman turned good - but not too good leads us through a series of twists and turns in an entertaining crime fiction novel. Candace forms an unlikely partnership with Detective Malone to help solve the murder of a teenaged boy who she was approached to carry out a hit on. Throughout the novel the reader is left guessing as to the extent of Candace's involvement, how much we can trust the motivations of those in her small circle of friends and relatives with questionabl ...more
David Pearce
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh to be a retired hit-woman, or is it hit-person? Candace Starr, out of jail and making ends meet by a variety of jobs, legal and maybe not so, finds herself involved, reluctantly, with the cops to solve a murder, she may have knowledge of. And so it goes, and go it does. Ms. O'Cinneide keeps the action coming through a parade of characters and incidents that hold the reader in till the very end and what an end it is.
Fun and entertaining with a lead character that might be tough to love, but oh
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a detective novel unlike any I've read as the protagonist is a reformed hit woman and she's pretty ruthless. There are glimmers of the heart of gold but they are pretty small glimmers!!
I found this an easy read in that it flowed quickly and I found myself turning page after page, immersed in the story. Dive in and enjoy!
I hear there may be more stories about Candace Starr in the pipeline. Can't wait!
Joanne Guidoccio
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Intrigued by the idea of a hard-drinking “retired” hitwoman agreeing to help a classy female detective catch a killer, I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what awaited them in this gripping page-turner. I was particularly impressed by the first-person POV, quirky characters, dark humor, plot twists, and an unexpected ending. It’s official—I’m now a fan of The Candace Starr Series and hope that Ms. O’Cinneide will deliver the next installment ASAP.
Phil Halton
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m a fan of classic “hardboiled” noir from the likes of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and even Mickey Spillane. The Starr Sting Scale is a compelling read, from start to finish, that updates classic noir fiction for 2020. This could easily be turned into an excellent television series, like a feminist version of “Justified” seen from the side of the crooks instead of the cops. Well worth your time and money.
John Hunt
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an exciting start to what I know will be an excellent series. A kick-ass protagonist, reminding me of Anita Blake without the vampires and supernatural elements, dominates the narrative. And although her character traits are not the most admirable, you root for her and want to follow her on her adventure. Well worth the read!
Diane Melanson
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't think I have ever read a novel such as this one with a character like Candace Starr. Her world is so full of vicious and degenerate individuals it is a wonder she is still alive. There is something engaging about her and I look forward to reading another one in the series, although I might try an audio book as the narrative voice is so strong and entertaining. ...more
Janet Rathbone
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
From the moment I started reading I was stung!!! Candace Starr is one bad ass gal. I wouldn't want to be on her bad side or even on her good side for that matter!!! I've never encountered such a raw strong female character in any booknive read. C.S O"Cinneide does not disappoint and I can't wait to read more about this raunchy lady ...more
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
An engrossing and entertaining hard boiled that kept me hooked till the end.
A solid mystery, an interesting cast of characters and background made me liked this story.
A good read, recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very well-written and enjoyable. Really liked the protagonist. This is definitely leading to a series. Can't wait for the next one. ...more
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic book. It reminds me of the 1940s era film noir but with the female as hit man. There are enough twists and turns to make a person dizzy, and I absolutely loved it. Highly recommend this book.
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Noir. Unfiltered. Witty.

Hilde van Dijk
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic crime novel that kept me hooked till the end with a unpredictable plot.
Can’t wait for the next one of this series.
Michael Gosselin
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Read

Great character development, intriguing plot, and very surprising twists along the way. Wonderful way to escape COVID-19 for an evening.
Z Aung
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: ARC provided for an honest review.

I went back and forth on a three or four stars. The first third of the book was slow, and our hero, Candice Starr, was very much the opposite of likable. I also wasn't a huge fan of how she viewed other women, but the narrative challenges her on that. And the book's co-star, Malone, through her actions and words, forces Candace to confront how she relates to other women.

Then we get to the last third of the book and damn it got GOOD. The ending is wh
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-work
A cool noir book that gender-bends the hard-boiled detective genre with a rough-and-tumble gun-for-hire named Candace Starr who's done time and isn't too keen to help the cops. Her partner is a well-dressed, intelligent cop who also happens to be a woman. The objectified "bimbo" of the story is good-hearted bounty hunter with a soft spot for Candace. Definitely a fun read, especially for women who want to see a broader representation of their gender in noir crime books! ...more

Not gonna lie, I picked this mainly for the bisexual MC. When the book info said: "Candace Starr is a funny, rude, independent, alcoholic, bisexual, former hitwoman", I was like, yes, PLEASE.

Plot twists were predictable and the ending was underwhelming imo, but if you enjoy hard-boiled crime fiction, don't have any triggers, and you can stomach anything, I'd say give this a go. Both the book and MC turned out to be different from what I expected them to be, but this might be right up someo
Jun 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Dead-on dialogue and sharp writing. Starr, a ex-assassin is a well-realised character with a messy past. This novel, full of snark and dark humour, is a fast-paced fabulous read. If you think Starr is just another hardened yet soft-hearted protagonist, watch out for the twist at the end!

PS. I loved the Sneetch convo. It captured the essence of the Malone/Starr friendship.

NB. TW for non-graphic gang rape, non-consensual sexual act.
Shelley Spies
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Looking for a clever, suspenseful read filled with humour, outrageousness and surprise? Bet you can’t put this one down until the end! As dark as some parts are, the likability of the characters and their back stories might just distort your sense of justice. Entertaining twists and astonishing shocks- perfect for anyone who enjoys that “I don’t want to look but I have to look” feeling!
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C.S. O'Cinneide (oh-ki-nay-da) is an Edgar nominated writer and a blogger on her website, She Kills Lit, where she features women writers of thriller and noir. Her debut novel, Petra’s Ghost, a dark thriller set on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in 2019.
She is also the author of the Candace Starr crime series, which follows the hard-boiled antics of

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