Special early reviews of Elaine Viets

Dying in Style from February 2009

In the first installment of Elaine Viets's Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series, Dying in Style, we were introduced to Josie Marcus. She was a single mother of a nine-year-old daughter in St. Louis and worked as a mystery shopper for the local mall. Her own mother wasn't much of a shopper herself. When she shopped at Danessa Celedine's exclusive store for her first assignment, she wasn't pleased with the handbags and wrote a negative review. In lieu of that, it provoked threats of an impending lawsuit. That might've cost the fashion diva fifty million dollars. But her financial trouble became the least of the worries, when she was found murdered--strangled--by her own snakeskin belts as Josie was accused of the crime.  In order to clean her name, she needed to bag the killer, before she becomes the next victim on the list.

I loved the St. Louis backdrop for this new cozy series and the selected stores per book. I also adore Josie's daughter and devoted mother, who helped take care of her. I also loved Josie's mystery shopper job. I didn't care much for Danessa, who was a diva in more ways than one. I loved how Josie took charge of the situation, since she was under suspicion as a person of interest. Real gripping for a page-turner.

Ready to grab a thief and collar him too? Snag a copy today!

Shop Till You Drop from June 2004

In the first installment in the Helen Hawthorne Dead-End Job Cozy series, Shop Till You Drop,  Elaine Viets introduced us to Helen Hawthorne. It all started when she found out her husband cheated on her with her neighbor Sandy. Down on her luck with money, she went on the run from St. Louis, Missouri and ended up in cozy Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She made new friends with her neighbors and took dead-end jobs with cash for her husband not to track her down. Her first dead-end job she took was at Juliana's as a salesclerk at an exclusive boutique. When she thought she was safe, she discovered her boss embezzled money and sold designer drugs on the side. Then her boss was murdered. It was up to Helen to find out who done it, before the killer made her their next victim or the police came after her as a suspect.

This was a delightful introduction to the series. We do get to care about Helen and why she ran from the law to take dead-end jobs to make ends meet. We also get to know about her newfound friends and landlady, who help her out. The Florida scenery was wonderful and picturesque. You would read this book in a setting or two. The humorous bits would make you laugh and smile, maybe snort, out loud. You'll be intrigued in the first book of the series to read more.

Ready to root for Helen? Give this cozy a try!

Murder Between the Covers from September 2006

In the second installment of the Helen Hawthorne Dead-End Job series by Elaine Viets, Murder Between the Covers, Helen now worked as a salesclerk in a bookstore. Page Turner III was a multimillionaire who owned and ran his family's bookstore chain. But Turner was mean and had plenty of enemies who wanted to do him in. When he was found dead with her neighbor and friend Peggy, it was up to Helen to save her friend and herself to find the killer. She would have to start in the bookstore to look for clues and to read between the lines of his sordid life.

This was another good read in the story. I loved the concept of it taking place in the bookstore. It had a catchy name as well. As always, I loved the rich backdrop of Ft. Lauderdale Florida and at the bookstore. I continued to become amazed in awe at Helen, when she ran from her law. I love her neighbors and landlady at the apartment. This pulled me in and held me throughout the whole cozy.

Right now, check out a copy this weekend!

Dying to Call You from May 2007

In the third installment of the Helen Hawthorne Dead-End cozy series by Elaine Viets, we found Helen working as a telemarketer this time around in Dying to Call You. Everyone hates a telemarketer who disrupt their dinners and pester them all day throughout the day.  When she did one phone survey, she'd gotten an earful. She overheard an argument and someone screaming on the phone line. She wasn't sure if it was real or make-believe like in a movie. Without many clues to follow, she'd been chasing leads and had a close call of her own with a killer.

This was another great Helen Hawthorne cozy. I continued to love the Florida backdrop and warm and friendly ambiance of Margery Flax and her neighbors. I loved how they pitched in to aid Helen, while she continued to run from the law and hide from her ex. I liked the interesting twist of Helen being a telemarketer and only hearing a crime being committed on the phone. Great dramatic suspense build-up to keep you plowing through the pages to the end.

Ready to save a life? Pick up a copy this week!

Just Murdered from September 2008

In the fourth installment of the Helen Hawthorne series by Elaine Viets, poor Helen found herself into another complex situation in Just Murdered. She now worked as a sales associates in Millicent's Bridal Salon and dealt with two bridezillas who need two gowns that cost a bundle of money. When Helen found the obnoxious mother-to-be of one of the brides was found dead before the wedding day, it caught her off guard. But when the police found her prints at the crime scene, it was now up to Helen to find the real killer before it becomes her funeral next in line.

Once again, I enjoyed this installment of the Helen Hawthorne series. I loved the setting of Fort Lauderdale and the theme of a wedding or two.  I continued to care for Helen, while she hid from the law. Her neighbors were a hoot to read about, while they helped look over her back. I did feel a bit of sadness on one of the brides. This quick read would keep you reading to the end with every turned page.

Ready to attend a wedding? Reserve your spot with a copy today!

Murder Unleashed from October 2008

In the fifth installment of Elaine Viets's Helen Hawthorne series, we found Helen into another pickle of hers in Murder Unleashed. She now worked in the Pampered Pet Boutique. Every time she worked at a dead-end job, it had exposed her to a lot of dead people. At her latest job, it would be no exception. When someone wound up dead, she had a new murder to solve and find a kidnapped pup, all before the Category  3 hurricane hits Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

This was another charming Helen Hawthorne cozy. I loved the concept of racing against a hurricane to breeze through a Florida town. True to form, I did care for the residents who lived in Ft. Lauderdale.  I loved the concept of a pet boutique. This was a light breeze for a quick read and easy reading. You've got to love a mystery or cozy that featured animals.

Get ready to breeze on through this cozy today!

Murder with Reservations from June 2009

Helen Hawthorne was back in the 6th installment of the Dead-End Job series from Elaine Viets. This time around, she worked at Sybil's Full Moon Hotel in Murder with Reservations. While she tried to stay under the radar from the past, it became harder this time around. She found a dead maid in a Dumpster. To make matters worse, her ex-husband was hot on her trail after all these years. When the police didn't care much about the maid's murder, they rather focused their attention on her own shady past. If she avoided their interrogation and shake off her ex-husband from her trail, it might not be check out time for her in Murder with Reservations.

This was another great cozy with Helen Hawthorne. You can't beat the Florida locale and the great neighbors Helen had with this one. I liked her connection to Phil, while she remained elusive from the law and her ex-husband as well.  I didn't like how the police hounded her, when another dead body came her way. I loved Margery, Peggy with Pete, and the others in her apartment complex. I continued to care for Helen and became wary with her every move. Great suspense and a nice storyline to boot.

Ready to reserve a spot to read this book? Stand in line and grab a copy today!

Clubbed to Death from June 2009

In the 7th installment of the Helen Hawthorne Dead-End series by Elaine Viets, Helen ended up in another quandary of their own in Clubbed to Death. We find Helen working in the complaint department of the local country club, dealing with the gripes of the rich and the spoiled. Then her ex Rob had located her and sailed aboard a yacht with his new wife Marcella, the "Black Widow. The next day Rob ended up missing, while Helen ended up arrested. Marcella released Helen, while they team up to form an unlikely alliance to find out what happened. At the same time, a patron of the club wounded up clubbed to death, permanently canceling his membership. Now it was up to  Helen to find out the truth, before someone wanted to be teed off on her discovery, too.

This was an intriguing and fascinating Helen Hawthorne cozy. I continued to become concerned about Helen and from dodging the law, especially encountering her ex. I still love the Florida backdrop for this fun and witty series. I loved her neighbors at the apartment complex. For this light read, you could read it in a setting or two. I didn't care for much for Rob and didn't have any feelings for Marcella. It was 50/50 for me. Great drama to hook you in to keep you reading to the end.

Ready to join forces? Buy a copy today!

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