"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Killing Bridezilla (Jaine Austen Mysteries) by Laura Levine

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Summary: Author Jaine Austen solves the murder of one of her clients, a woman who tormented her in high school.

I am so excited! I found a new murder mysteries series that I love. Of course, I picked this book up randomly, amused by the title. I never expected to find another series and a character to adore. Jaine Austen is an under-employed free-lance writer living in Los Angeles.  Calling your character Jane Austen - modernized for L.A - cracks me up - and Jaine's narration is sharp and sassy.

Jaine Austen is fat and broke - two qualities that mean she is never quite accepted in L.A. society. Her clothes are sloppy, she eats McDonald's daily and her largest client is Toiletmasters. The two men in her life are Ben & Jerry. So when Jaine is contacted by an old high school classmate for a writing job, Jaine's first instinct is to run, far away. But the $3,000 she is promised would go a long way towards paying bills, so Jaine agrees to "rewrite the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, but without that bummer ending" as part of Patti's wedding day vows. Jaine somehow finds herself bragging about her rich talented fiancé to her old high school classmates, trying to prove that she is not the loser they think she is. She is tricked into bringing that (imaginary) fiancé to the wedding, leaving her in a bind. Her best friend suggests an escort service.
Well, dear reader, if you think I was about to degrade myself by paying for a date with a guy who was just one step up from a male hooker, all I can say is - you're a very perceptive reader. 
When the bride - Jaine's old high school classmate who has remained a rich bitch - is murdered on her wedding day, Jaine is determined to solve the crime. The suspect list was ever changing and the murderer came as a surprise to me, which made it even more enjoyable.

Jaine's love life is as much of a disaster as her finances, and she goes on one of the worst dates ever. Seriously, you should read this book just so you can cringe at the horror of this date.

The only off-note for me are the e-mails that Jaine gets from her parents. Every few chapters, we read the e-mails that Jaine's parents send her, explaining some nonsense or project Jaine's father is involved in. In this book, he sues the library board over $.18 in late fees. I felt the e-mails were silly, and don't really relate to the current mystery. It's the author's attempt to  make this series even funnier, but personally, I could have done without the extra plot line. I put up with them, because I am devouring this series, but you could skip every e-mail and still enjoy the book. I'm off to read my next one - don't bother me!

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