I don’t think I am the intended audience for this novel. When I picked it up in the used section of Prospero’s Books in Tbilisi, I read a quote on the front cover from Janet Evanovich (who?) suggesting it is a “compelling mixture of madness and mayhem. Great fun.” It didn’t make me laugh and rarely made me smile. I do have a sense of humour but maybe not the humor of the Southern US. This book is set in Georgia but in Atlanta not Tbilisi.
Kate Holly is a thirty-something psychologist, and probably as crazy as the nutcases she treats. Kate is obsessive-compulsive and has to have 36 pens on her desk. She does mental arithmetic when she feels tense and is uncomfortable with odd numbers. Jay her ex-husband, a firefighter, describes Kate as a “magnet for nutcases“. There are a lot of oddball characters in this book and I think it might work better as a film, where we don’t need so much background detail on each.
There is a crime element to this book, someone is starting fires deliberately and tying to get firefighters hurt. The crime element, though, really only takes off in the last twenty pages, the rest of the novel is more about complicated relationships and the oddball characters in Kate’s life. Her dog, called Mike, even though she is a bitch, at one point gets stoned on Lila’s love treats. She has to take Mike to the vet who is gorgeous but gay, which doesn’t stop her eccentric secretary Mona getting drunk and trying to get off with the vet at a party.
It is difficult to keep track of all the characters there are two ex-husbands, one of whom Kate would like to get back with, there are various patients, one who thinks she is Marie Osmond, but is over drugged by her husband looking to get her wealth, another is a Latino gang member in trouble with the law for hitting a priest with a baseball bat. There is Mandy a female firefighter “well endowed plus some” who is also interested in Kate’s ex-husband. There is a cranky neighbour, Bitsy Spout, who continually complains about Mike (that is the dog) pooping on her lawn.
“If I catch your dog in my yard I’m going to shoot her with my pellet gun.”
“I dare you,” I said, using what I considered my most menacing voice. “You don’t want to go to jail, Bitsy. Do you know what they do to blue-haired ladies in jail?” Her eyes widened. “Put that in your pellet gun.” I said.
Then there are Kate’s meddling mother and her twin sister, Aunt Trixie, the junk sisters, making a lot of money from recycling trash, they have a bijou store called “Junque”. If a “romantic comedy” with these kinds of characters interests you, you may like it but I didn’t. I very rarely read romantic comedy, although I loved Bridget Jones’ Diary.
My rating 2 out of 5