Tour’s Books Blog

February 24, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Knock ’em Dead by Rhonda Pollero

Filed under: Amateur Sleuth,Book review,Mystery review — toursbooks @ 1:45 am
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Ronda Pollero, who also publishes under the name Kelsey Roberts, gives Finley Anderson Tanner a second outing as an amateur sleuth in Knock ‘em Dead. The first book, Knock Off, set up the cast of characters carried through here. Both are written in the same lighthearted style that lovers of Gemma Halliday’s High Heels mysteries know well and both authors mine very similar territory in the core characters and comic approach. Still, Pollero makes the book entertaining enough that you don’t mind all the cliché claptrap.

Accountant and investment broker Jane Spencer wakes up in her bed with her one night stand. The big problem is he’s cold and dead with a knife sticking in his chest – or it was there till Jane pulled it out. (Was there a part of ‘cold and dead’ she missed?) Instead of calling the police, she runs to friend Finley’s apartment dressed in her bloody La Perla ‘get lucky’ nightie and still tracking blood. (hummmmm, are you having the same trouble here that I am?) She takes off to seek refuge with friend, para-legal Finley. The police are called and end up arresting Jane for murder and Finley for being annoying. Finley gets out, but Jane is held without bond when an undisclosed prior assault charge comes to light. With friend Becky, a lawyer at Dane-Lieberman where Finley works, Finley sets out to investigate the murder and get her friend out of jail.

As with all amateur detective novels, you’re often left wondering at the stupidity of their actions. I realize that this type of book in particular is pure escapism, but still, I kept wondering if Finley could really be THAT stupid. Liam McGarrity, the handsome PI for Knock Off is back, as is Sam the neighbor in a very minor role, and Finley’s mother from hell – who would have had my sympathy if she weren’t such a manipulator. Finley is remarkably immature for a 30 year old woman, more focused on buying designer clothes and accessories than earning a living and making a life. That’s OK at 24, but by 30, shouldn’t she be growing out of it? Then again, the book is set in the Palm Beach, FL area and shallow-as-a-saucer is unremarkable there. Her redeeming virtue is her loyalty to her friends. Still, Finley would be far more likable if she matured a bit.

Aside from my personal issues with Finley’s Peter Pan act, the book moves at a good pace, has a sense of humor and a good plot that was just slightly predictable. I think Gemma Halliday, Ellen Byerrum, and several others do it better, but still, this is a good, light-hearted cozy.

My Grade: C+

Who would enjoy this book: Chick-lit, humor mystery, and quick read fans. Those who read Gemma Halliday, Ellen Byerrum, Kate Collins, and Cleo Coyle.

NOTE:  The paperback version is scheduled for release July, 2009.

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