Jennifer Crusie is the bestselling author of TELL ME LIES, CRAZY FOR YOU and WELCOME TO TEMPTATION. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, and teaches creative writing at Ohio State University.
A detective agency may be a sure setting for mystery and adventure, but in Crusie's latest (after Welcome to Temptation; Crazy for You; Tell Me Lies), a likable cast of characters also find sex, love and empowerment. At 42, recently divorced Nell Dysart starts a new life by becoming a secretary for Gabe McKenna, a gruff private investigator … la Sam Spade; McKenna runs an old-fashioned family business in German Village, Ohio, with his cousin and partner, Riley. The new job provides distraction for Nell, and with the support of her china-collecting former sisters-in-law, Suze and Margie; her son, Jase; and a stolen dachshund named Marlene, she gets back on her feet. Gabe is less than thrilled with Nell's sassiness, and they clash over her attempts to clean and redecorate his office. But where there is friction, there are also sparks, and as bull-headed as Gabe and Nell are, they finally acknowledge their mutual attraction. To make things more complicated, Gabe's biggest client is the Dysart clan, Nell's former in-laws, and the history between them becomes confused with present investigations of embezzlement and bribery when Nell discovers the title to a Porsche and a bag of diamonds in her boss's office. After more than one character is found stuffed in a freezer, Gabe, Riley, Nell and Suze set out to solve a 20-year-old murder case. Crusie's snappy dialogue and skillful plotting more than make up for some uneven pacing and one-dimensional villains. The novel's provocative title says too little about this entertaining romantic caper, which will satisfy fans and new readers alike. Agent, Meg Ruley. Author tour. (May 2) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Continuing a successful switch from series romance to contemporary hardcover fiction, this latest effort by the author of Welcome to Temptation is sheer reading enjoyment. At 42, Nell Dysart is divorced and job hunting. Landing a temporary position as the office manager for McKenna Investigations is the best she can do while she figures out how to put her life back together. The McKenna office is a shambles, and Nell's boss, Gabe McKenna, seems unpleasant, disorganized, and very rigid. Nell knows she has the organization skills and business know-how to turn the place around, yet the major stumbling block is that Gabe likes things pretty much the way they are. Crusie's two main characters, as well as a host of secondary characters, convincingly guide the slightly complicated plot, which involves a long-ago murder and family cover-up, to a satisfying conclusion. The real plot, of course, is the growing attraction between Gabe and Nell. Crusie is hopelessly romantic and hilariously funny. Highly recommended for all public libraries with romance or fiction readers. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/01.] Margaret Hanes, Sterling Heights P.L., MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.