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A Bad Day for Pretty: A Crime Novel [Paperback]

Sophie Littlefield

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Book Description

April 21 2011 Bad Day (Book 2)

A New York Times Notable Book!

Stella Hardesty, avenger of wronged women, is getting cozy with Sheriff “Goat” Jones when a tornado blows none other than Goat’s scheming ex-wife, Brandy, through the front door. Adding to the chaos, the tornado destroys the snack shack at the demolition derby track, pulling up the concrete and unearthing a woman’s body. The main suspect for the dumping is Neb Donovan. Years ago, Neb’s wife asked Stella for help getting him sober. Stella doesn’t believe the gentle man could kill any woman, and she promises his frantic wife she’ll look into it. Former client Chrissy Shaw, now fully employed at Stella’s sewing shop, helps with snooping around as Stella must negotiate with the unpredictable Brandy and the dangerously alluring sheriff.

This is the thrilling sequel to Sophie Littlefield’s award-winning debut featuring Stella Hardesty, one of the most applauded and exciting new heroines in crime fiction today.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (April 21 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312560478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312560478
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,183,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“The second novel featuring vigilante Stella Hardesty blends humor and southern-fried crime-solving, to delicious effect.”--People

"No sophomore slump for Littlefield! Her second novel featuring Stella Hardesty, empowered avenger of abused women, is just as compelling and addictive as her debut....You'll race through the pages of this book and then be sorry to leave Stella and her cohorts behind."--RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars)

"Sophie Littlefield’s debut novel A Bad Day for Sorry garnered much buzz and every possible award nomination. A Bad Day for Pretty firmly establishes her as a new brand of writer....It’s a joy when a new writer holds your attention from beginning to end. It’s a treat when she has something so new to say."--Crimespree Magazine

“Sophie Littlefield won this reader’s heart with her unforgettable debut novel, A Bad Day for Sorry. The only thing I was sorry about was that it had to end. Never fear—Stella Hardesty is back to kicking ass and taking names in A Bad Day for Pretty. She’s funny, profane, brave, passionate and honest in this new story of crime and punishment in rural Missouri.”—Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Hideaway

"Who in the hell do I have to run over to get more Stella? Seriously, people, if you aren't reading about this kick-ass woman and how brilliantly Littlefield portrays her world, her heartbreaks and successes, you're missing out."--Toni McGee Causey, author of When a Man Loves a Weapon

About the Author

Sophie Littlefield grew up in rural Missouri. Her first novel, A Bad Day for Sorry, won an Anthony Award for Best First Novel and an RT Book Award for Best First Mystery. It was also shortlisted for Edgar, Barry, Crimespree, and Macavity awards. Sophie lives near San Francisco, California.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great characters, just a middlin' mystery July 5 2010
By J. Prather - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the first book I've read by this author, so I missed Stella's first adventure. I thought the author did a great job of bringing new readers up to speed, so if you're like me, you can probably jump in with this one too. Having said that, I think the first one must of been a bit more exciting, so you might want to start there anyway. This book reads like a cozy mystery, since Stella is officially an amateur, but make no mistake, it has quite a bit more language and sexual innuendos than your average cozy. It seems to straddle the middle of two genres, not exactly a cozy and not exactly a typical mystery complete with clues, violence, sex and truly nasty guys you really have to chase down. This story didn't work for me because I think I'm more used to mysteries with a bit more edge. I didn't find it compelling at all and found myself struggling to keep with it, especially during the first half of the book. There is no page turning suspense, and in fact I wasn't really that interested in finding out who did it! I needed a LOT more excitement, and a lot less repetition of Stella's philosophies of life. It seems like the author kept saying the same thing over and over, when I got it and liked it the first time.

Still, I would give this book a solid 3.5 stars, maybe even 4 just because I loved this character so much! Stella Hardesty is a middle aged woman looking out for all the women out there who are abused and taken advantage of. She's a Robin Hood in rubber clogs and the author does a great job of giving her an authentic voice filled with homespun wisdom and humor. She's a character I would love to have a drink with, and along with her partner Chrissy Shaw, they provided enough humor and charm to keep the so-so story humming along. I might even look for the next installment for this series just so I can see if Stella finally gets her man. I just hope the author let's Stella and Chrissy go a bit more next time so they can really have a good adventure. If you're looking for a cozy with a bit more grit than usual, you'll like this one OK, but if your tastes run to the edgier side of things, better pass Stella on by for now.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sequel June 14 2010
By Anne Caroline Drake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you can't wait for Janet Evanovich's SIZZLING SIXTEEN to be released on June 22, Sophie Littlefield's BAD DAY series will make your day at the beach. If Stephanie Plum had an aunt living in the Show Me State (Missouri), it would be Stella Hardesty. Stella's a younger version of Grandma Mazur and gets herself into as much trouble.

Stella and her new side-kick Chrissy Shaw are survivors of domestic violence. A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY opens with a PTSD flashback to the day a tornado took out Stella's beloved uncle. Stella and Chrissy are still recovering from the wounds sustained in a tussle with the Mob at the end of A BAD DAY FOR SORRY.

The pair, however, find themselves lusting after new men. Stella has the hots for Sheriff Goat Jones, and Chrissy charms the pants off a computer geek named Larry Klipsinger. He teaches her how to become a computer hacker.

Goat's estranged wife Brandy Truax blows back into his life like the tornado that's brewing outside, and she creates the same level of chaos and destruction.

The tornado uproots the snack shack on the county fairgrounds revealing the mummified body of a blond. Neb Donovan, a husband rehabilitated from his wife-beating ways by Stella, is the prime suspect. He was addicted to OxyContin, a hillbilly's heroin.

There are so many whacky plot twists loaded with humor and romance that I forgot the book is a who-done-it until the identity of the killer is revealed at the end. The clue was so subtle that I missed it entirely ~ my favorite kind of mystery.

The mystery within the mystery is which woman in the trio making eyes at Goat will capture his heart. He and Stella are the "yin and yang of holistic justice." He thought he was divorced from Brandy. And, ambitious co-worker Daphne Simmons is sexually harassing him.

A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY is laugh-out-loud funny as well as thought-provoking. A great read.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "If you've enjoyed a little and endured a lot, you've done pretty well." Unknown Source July 2 2010
By michael a. draper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Stella Hardesty returns from the hospital after her adventures in "A Bad Day for Sorry."

She had been abused by her husband for years and ended the abuse and Ollie's life. Now, she helps other women get out of abusive situations.

She's having dinner at Sheriff "Goat" Jones' home. They have been building up to a more physical relationship and just as things are getting warm, the Sheriff's scheming, ex-wife, Brandy, arrives.

Brandy hasn't seen Goat for three years and each claims that the other never got around to signing the divorce papers so they're still legally married.

As this is transpiring, a tornado rips through town and blows over the snack shop at the demolition derby track at the fair grounds. Under the rubble is a mumified body of a woman.

Neb Donovan had been in charge of the construction and he becomes the leading suspect. His wife, Donna, hires Stella to look into clearing Neb's name. Donna had asked Stella to intervene in the past when Neb had been addicted to Oxycontin. It appeared that his recovery had gone well, until now.

This is another entertaining novel from the author. There are some laugh out loud moments and the author keeps the reader's attention as layers of the puzzle are peeled away and a possible solution is arrived at.

It is refreshing to see a female protagonist who won't be pushed around and Sara along with her new associate, Chrissy, show that they have the strength to take matters into their own hands.

Great fun.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No rest for the weary July 18 2010
By Susan Tunis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Okay, there's a little bit of rest. Sophie Littlefield's second Stella Hardesty novel opens about three months after the events of A Bad Day for Sorry. Readers of that novel will realize that Stella was in no shape to rush back into the thick of things, so there was just a bit of rest and recuperation. And it looks like there may be a bit of relaxation in store with the last person Stella should be cozying up to, Sheriff "Goat" Jones. However, this is quickly solved by the inopportune arrival on the scene of Goat's not-quite-ex-wife, Brandy.

Now, Brandy is a pain in the patootie, and she brings a host of trouble with her, but Stella has other concerns. An old friend and client is in trouble. One of the few worthwhile men that Stella has ever had to scare straight is a suspect in a murder. Stella has a hard time imagining the gentle man is a killer, but all signs point to his guilt. Stella launches an investigation in her own inimitable fashion, assisted--you'll be glad to hear--by Chrissy Shaw, a character far too entertaining to have been left behind in book one.

Actually, in this novel we meet several more of the people in Stella's support network. The mysteries that Sophie Littlefield spins are well-plotted and compelling, but I'll be honest, it's these characters and the relationships of this quirky tribe that will keep me coming back for more.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun & Feisty April 15 2011
By Clarice - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I really enjoyed the debut novel featuring Stella Hardesty, A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, and was really looking forward to this. Verdict: Good, but not quite what I'd hoped.

On the positive side, Littlefield's a good writer and she's created a just-quirky-enough cast of soap-opera-like characters to populate a bunch of future books. While I found some a bit overly stereotyped (including Stella's sidekick, Chrissy), for the most part I like the cast and think it's drawn with broad, sympathetic strokes. And Propser, Missouri is much more to my taste than that saccharine Three Pines and its treacly characters (those of you who read crime fiction will know whom I'm referring to). While the humor is broad, it's not forced, and Littlefield does knock off some memorable one-liners. I have to say, though, that the grammatical error in the last line of the acknowledgments, before I ever got to the first chapter, almost put me off before I got started! (I know, I'm a little uptight about this stuff).

On the negative side, I thought the plotting on the debut was a little skimpy, and the same's true here, which makes the book seem overly long and padded with filler. And, strangely, I think what made Stella so appealing in the first book were the detailed exploits of the not-so-subtle whup-ass she does on men who mistreat their women. That's absent here, except for a few flashbacks about men Stella had gotten in line, and I really missed that as part of the book. I also felt the book started to falter when this light-hearted read attempts to make some "serious" feminist statements, and (call me unromantic) I sort of got tired of reading the physical descriptions of Sheriff/Adonis Goat Jones--and I hope Littlefield doesn't make the mistake that Louise Penny makes of falling absolutely in love with her own creation. That's a small quibble, though, because I think Littlefield handles the chemistry between Stella and Goat quite nicely for the most part.

A fun read, but definitely start with A BAD DAY FOR SORRY.

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