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Saturday, January 06, 2007

My review of Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt...

Product Description: She always wanted to be a forensic pathologist. But when circumstances force her to drop out of school, Gabby St. Claire starts a crime scene-cleaning business. Suddenly a routine job turns up a murder weapon, and Gabby and her neighbor Riley realize that the wrong man is behind bars! Will they catch the real killer?

My review:
I didn't know you could make such a difficult subject so funny. I guess it would be like writing comedy from an undertaker's perspective. You'd have to find something amusing about your icky job to make it bearable. Gabby begins the story cleaning a crime scene and picking up fragments of the murder victim's skull while mentally composing jingles to promote her business. Then she discovers evidence that the crime scene investigators missed and everything goes downhill from there. She keeps feeling ignored by the people who were supposed to be solving the crime and thus decides to figure it out herself, making matters worse for herself with each new discovery.

The romantic tension in the story is fabulous as well. I felt for Gabby when she finally started feeling close to a man and then a monkey wrench was thrown in. Poor Gabby felt like a "project" and not a person when her hopes were dashed. And that near-kiss was amazingly-well done. The best part of this story (besides the amazing sarcastic humor and hot guys) was that I wasn't any more sure of the true killer's identity than Gabby was. Her conclusions made sense, but then little tidbits of evidence detracted from her conclusions and made her more confused. Then when the killer is revealed, it makes sense, but I never suspected the person whodunit!

So though this story had suspense/thriller moments, it also had a cozy chick-lit feel to me because an amateur was trying to solve a murder. The author did a fantastic job engaging the reader and thickening the plot. This was a top-notch suspense, in my opinion. It had all of the elements of the perfect novel. The fact that I kept feeling drawn to read it and stayed up to the wee hours last night to finish the story tells me it's at the top of my list. In fact, I dare say I enjoyed it even more than Hell in a Briefcase. If you like murder mysteries and suspense with a chick-lit feel, you'll want to read this one!

Hazardous Duty was published by Kregel Books and released in November 2006.

It's also the featured book of the month on my website!

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