Where have all the tough gals gone?
It seems froth'n'fun is all the rage these days, thanks to the wild success of Evanovich's Stephanie Plum and her other romance/mystery hybrids. And Jane Tesh's MADDY "MAC" MACLIN certainly seems more than ready to hop on that particulart gravy train (in much the same way Lisa Lutz's increasingly successful Izzy Spellman series already has).
Former beauty queen Mac (she was was once North Carolinaís Miss Parkland) has traded in her tiara for a fedora and become a fledgling private eye with a messy marriage behind her and a potentially hot romance with eccentric hunk (and would-be flim flam man) Jerry Fairweather looming on the horizon. The well-rendered small-town setting, the goofball characters and the good-natured frothy humour should charm cozy lovers, but the overly busy plots and scatterbrained logic of them may grate on those looking for something with a little more bite.
Still, A Case of Imagination (2006), A Hard Bargain (2007) and A Little Learning (2008) are just so darn eager to please that Mac should at least be voted Miss Congeniality.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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