* Summary is taken from Amazon, along with the book cover. *
It was a hell of a long shot…. CIA assassin Fortune Redding is about to undertake her most difficult mission ever—in Sinful, Louisiana. With a leak at the CIA and a price placed on her head by one of the world’s largest arms dealers, Fortune has to go off-grid, but she never expected to be this far out of her element. Posing as a former beauty queen turned librarian in a small bayou town seems worse than death to Fortune, but she’s determined to fly below the radar until her boss finds the leak and puts the arms dealer out of play. Unfortunately, she hasn’t even unpacked a suitcase before her newly inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard. Thrust into the middle of a bayou murder mystery, Fortune teams up with a couple of seemingly sweet old ladies whose looks completely belie their hold on the little town. To top things off, the handsome local deputy is asking her too many questions. If she’s not careful, this investigation might blow her cover and get her killed. Armed with her considerable skills and a group of elderly ladies the locals dub The Geritol Mafia, Fortune has no choice but to solve the murder before it’s too late.
For my last review, I just talked about what I liked and didn’t like. But for this one, l’ll be doing this based on what seems to be the five most important elements of a story, any story. Character, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution. l really hope this ends up being a better way to do reviews.
4 out of 5 stars.
1. Characters – The heroine of the story is a younger woman named Fortune Redding. l think she’s in her twenties, but l don’t think it was ever stated. I really liked Fortune, even though I don’t care for her name. She’s spunky, smart, and has this pretty Awesome ability to size anyone up and Know exactly how tall they are, how much they weigh, and if they have any health problems. l kind of wish I could do that. The hero of the story is Deputy Carter LeBlanc. He’s everything a hero in a story should be without being overly arrogant or annoying. The author does hint at a blooming romance between the two main characters, naturally, but doesn’t have anything happen with them, yet. This is the first book in the series though, so we shall see. For as much as I like Fortune and Carter, I love The Geritol Mafia even more. These are not your normal group of old women. They’re just like Fortune, only older. And to be in the elite group, you either have to have been never marries or your husband had to have been dead for at least ten years, just enough time for the woman’s brain to deprogram from the ways of her man. There’s a lot of feminist undertones in tms story. Still unsure how I feel about that. The two Mafia ladies you get to meet are Gertie and lda Belle. These two ladies are just simply hilarious together. Gertie is slightly absent-minded and refuses to acknowledge that she has gotten old and can’t do the same things she used to do when she was younger, like driving straight. Ida Belle is completely opposite. She’s sharp, blunt, and a bit of a control freak. At one point in the story, she makes fortune strip down to nothing and wrap a garbage bag around her body before she was allowed to sit in her precious Corvette. No joke. The antagonist of the story is good, with as little as we know about him. The author has you guessing who the real murderer is throughout the story, so to preserve the ending, I can’t say who it was. But I can say that even though you aren’t given much time to get to really know the antagonist, you aren’t left feeling like they were thrown in at the last second just to wrap up the ending. The characters in this book are really great. They made me laugh, quite a bit, and the way they interact with each other seems natural and plausible.
2. Setting – Set in the small town of Sinful, Louisiana, you’d never expect the bayous to have murder on their mind, but they do. And it gets quite interesting. I’ve never been to Louisiana so I’ve never been in a bayou or seen an aligator outside a zoo. But with the imagary that the author paints for you, you feel like you’ve been there your entire life. I love it. I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone and their business despite the fact that you didn’t have any neighbors at all and you were surrounded by trees. I love small towns like that and reading a book set in a small town made me homesick. Ms. DeLeon didn’t put every little thing into deep description and instead chose to keep the details of the setting to a minimum. However, you always knew where the character was with some additional details and she left out enough details so that your own mind could come up with it’s own scenery. Some authors can pull this off, some can’t. I’ve read books that had the same amount of setting details as this book has, but failed miserably because I couldn’t paint a picture in my head at all. Not the case with this book. An additional perk is that she didn’t use a lot of different settings. There was the house Fortune inherited, Ida Belle’s house once, Carter’s backyard twice, the bayou a few times (and let’s face it, that’s just water with aligators in it), and they once went to an irreputable bar. Simple and clean cut.
3. Plot – Was perfect. I knew exactly what was going on at all times and not once did I feel lost. Huge bonus. I hate having to reread several paragraphs becasue I didn’t know what was going on. And I didn’t have to do that with this book. Not even when my daughter distracted me. It was really nice. The action in the book, that started on page one with her return from the Middle East, and never once let up throughout the entire thing. So I was never bored by the action nor was I feeling like I was stuck on one piece of action for a long time. The plot was smooth and easy going, making the read enjoyable and hard to put down.
4. Conflict – Let’s face it. If you were to go to a house that you had inherited and almost immediately found a dead man’s bone in your backyard, the conflicts you would run into would be exciting and interesting. Now imagine reading about a CIA agent pretending to be someone else because she’s in hiding, finding that bone. Things get really interesting especially since she can’t seem to let the whole thing go. She’s too bored when she isn’t running around trying to figure out who the murderer was. And as with any good story, every major conflict will have minor conflicts and this once didn’t disappoint. The climax was pretty awesome too. Just when you think everything is over with Fortune, the author steps in and makes sure it all turns out right. Honestly, that was the only way I could put that without giving away the ending.
5. Resolution – I was disappointed at first. I knew who the murderer was before they caught him, although the characters kind of did too so I didn’t feel let down too much. But I was disappointed in Fortune for not figuring out her “Aunt’s” secret sooner. I figured it out as soon as the first sign of evidence popped up. And I honestly prefer my murderers to be backstabbers. Oh well. The ending was still good because a) it’s part of a series so I’m pretty pumped to read the next one, and b) the wrap up didn’t feel forced and the murderer wasn’t just thrown in there to take the fall at the last second. It was thought out in advanced.
Overall, this was a really good book and the first I’ve read of Jana DeLeon. I plan on reading more of her things in the future, and I also plan on enjoying those books just as much as this one. I give it a 4 star out of 5. Bonus perk: there was no sex! I like reading romance, but sex is not romance. Sorry.
So go ahead and check out his book, you won’t be disappointed. Click here to check it out at Amazon.