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Review: A Bad Day For Pretty by Sophie Littlefield

A Bad Day For Pretty by Sophie Littlefield
Contemporary Fiction, Crime
Hardcover (MINOTAUR BOOKS, 304 pages, $24.99)
ISBN# 0312559755
Stella Hardesty, avenger of wronged women, is getting cozy with Sheriff "Goat" Jones when a tornado blows none other than Goat’s scheming ex-wife, Brandy, through the front door. Adding to the chaos, the tornado destroys the snack shack at the demolition derby track, pulling up the concrete foundation and unearthing a woman's body. The main suspect in the woman’s murder is Neb Donovan---he laid the foundation, and there's some pretty hard evidence pointing to his guilt. Years ago, Neb's wife asked Stella for help getting him sober. Stella doesn't believe the gentle man could kill anyone, and she promises his frantic wife she'll look into it.
Former client Chrissy Shaw is now employed at Stella's sewing shop and she helps with the snooping as Stella negotiates the unpredictable Brandy and the dangerously magnetic sheriff.
This is the thrilling sequel to Sophie Littlefield’s critically-acclaimed debut, A Bad Day for Sorry, which won an RT Book Award, was an Edgar Award Finalist, and is shortlisted for an Anthony and a Macavity Award. Stella Hardesty is a heroine to watch---join her on this next adventure for as fiercely funny and riveting a story as there is to be found in crime fiction.

Author Site: sophielittlefield.com

A Good Day For Reading (4 stars)

Stella Hardesty knows a thing or two about bad relationships. Her marriage ended when she'd been knocked down one too many times by her husband. Now she gets paid to remind abusive men of their manners. It ain't legal and it certainly could get her into trouble with the new man in her life, Sheriff "Goat" Jones. Just when the two are finally taking a stab at a date his ex-wife, Brandy, drops in like a tornado. Of course, a real tornado tears through town right about then too, tearing up town and dredging up the remains of a lady from the foundation of a local snack shack.

All of the evidence points at Neb Donovan but his wife is willing to pay Stella to prove he wasn't involved. Now Stella has to find the real killer while avoiding getting tangled up in Goat's investigation, all the while trying to keep her wits dealing with his crazy ex. But Stella's no push-over and it'll take a lot more than scheming Brandy and mysterious prowlers to keep her from getting her man.

I'm not much for crime novels but hear me out... I L-O-V-E a tough woman who takes charge. I wasn't too sure I would like this story, the plot itself was a little uninteresting to me but I was sold on Stella. Sure enough she met all my expectations and more. I especially loved that she wasn't the young, leather-clad bombshell type I find in my usual reading. I like that type just fine but it was refreshing to see an older woman with some life experience under her belt. I also loved her sidekick Chrissy who reminded me a bit of myself. Littlefield knows how to write women with a realism (even if a little exagerated) that makes them likable and relatable.

The story's plot was a little less than exciting but executed in a way that kept it from being boring. Good dialog helped some scenes that would have been limp noodles. If you're looking for a dark read this is definitely not it. While the crime itself is a violent one the unraveling is fairly light, with only sprinkle of fighting.

On the whole I enjoyed A Bad Day For Pretty though I wish I'd read the previous book first so I wouldn't have been a little lost at times. I don't know that I'd read another Stella Hardesty book but Littlefield will be releasing a young adult novel in my preferred genre soon. She is definitely an author to watch if you like strong Southern women and great humorous dialog.

Other Reviews:

Anne Caroline Drake
Viva la Feminista
The Blood-Red Pencil

Notes: Received my copy via the book's publicist.

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