Hot men. Murder. Funny family scenes.Eccentric sidekicks. If you're thinking Janet Evanovich, you're wrong. When K.J. Larsen's first Cat DeLuca mystery, Liar, Liar, came out, I referred to Cat as Stephanie Plum with brains. After reading Sticks & Stones, I'm sticking with my opinion. The latest Cat DeLuca crime caper is as much fun as the early Evanovich books.
After Cat DeLuca caught her husband cheating, she was more than capable of operating a Chicago detective agency called Pants on Fire Detective Agency. She catches liars and cheats. She might be the disgrace of her large Italian family of cops, and her mother might spend all her time praying for her thirty-year-old single daughter to find a husband, and stop taking dirty pictures, but Cat's good at what she does. She even hired a former client, Cleo Jones, after Cleo caught her husband in bed with her sister, and shot his backside full of buckshot. She told her she'd get her dog back from her cheating husband, Walter, and the money he took. But, when Cleo and Cat showed up at Walter's house, someone had already shot him. And, Cleo, captured on video screaming she was going to kill him, is the number one suspect. Cat would have been right there with her, considered an accessory, if she wasn't related to half of the local precinct.
All of Chicago might think Cleo's guilty after seeing that video, but Cat is determined to prove she's innocent. She rallies the troops, her hot FBI boyfriend, Chance Savino, Tino, owner of Tino's Deli, who was once a covert operative for the U.S. government, and Max, a friend and former colleague of Tino's, and Cat's best friend and older brother, Rocco. Men drift in and out of Cat's kitchen, as suspects pile up. Walter had a few enemies, and quite an interesting past. There's a famous Chicago designer, Walter's former boss, a childhood friend. Cat's determined to find the real killer, even as she prepares for a family wedding, and continues to spy on cheating husbands.
The Cat DeLuca mysteries have my favorite quality in a book, wonderful, quirky characters. It's enough to make a reader wish to be part of a large, loving Italian family with all that good food. The stories are filled with cops, including a cop hangout, Mickey's. Then, there's Cat, who won't settle for being a cop's wife and brood mare. She's found a job she loves, and despite her mother's prayers, she sticks to it.
The dialogue in this book creates the humor. The story is fast-paced, and Cat does not always come out on the best side of every meeting. But, those situations, her family, and the other characters are priceless.
If you're a fan of Janet Evanovich's early works, or Deborah Coonts' books, I'm recommending K.J. Larsen's Sticks & Stones. Meet Cat DeLuca, a private eye with a heart of gold in mysteries filled with humor, hot food, and hunks.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.