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Dating Can Be Murder [Mass Market Paperback]

Jennifer Apodaca
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 2003 Samantha Shaw Mysteries
Samantha Shaw remembers a time when she believed in true love. When buying Heart Mates - the dating service her now deceased husband did business with - seemed like a good idea. But her romantic reveries ended the day she found a stash of sexy panties (not hers) hidden in his car. Leaving Sam with one question: What else was the cheating creep hiding? Try an illegal drug trade and a whole lot of money. That's just some of what surfaces after a man walks into Heart Mates and promises to kill Sam - and her kids - if she doesn't come up with the cash her spouse stole.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

After the sudden death of her rotten husband, Trent, southern California suburban housewife and soccer mom Samantha Shaw, the heroine of Apodaca's delightful debut cozy, seeks revenge big time. When cleaning out her husband's treasured 1964 Mustang convertible, Sam finds a bag of panties (not hers), each with a Post-it attached rating its owner's performance. Hurt and enraged, Samantha has her breasts done, dyes her hair blond and trades in her long skirts and sneakers for minis and stiletto heels. A reviewer of romance fiction and a firm believer in true love, she buys Heart Mates, a dating service, determined to make it, and romance, succeed. When a thug threatens her life and demands that she give him money, she suspects Trent was into more than extramarital sex. The thug's murder and the discovery that her condom salesman husband was also selling drugs give Sam good cause to worry for the safety of her sons and grandfather. Luckily, she can turn for help to hunky ex-cop Gabe Pulizzi. As the suspect list grows, Sam's new persona is tested in ways she never imagined at the PTA. Fast-paced and witty, this sparkling cozy offers a hair-raising climax and a believable cast of supporting characters, except for a relentless mother who's too keen on having her daughter become a realtor. In the best romance tradition, Sam dares to face the things that frighten her most. Surely one can almost hear Miss Marple saying, "You go, girl!"
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Outraged at discovering her condom-selling husband's infidelities, Samantha Shaw reinvents herself after his untimely death. She sells his prize car, has breast augmentation surgery, and purchases a dating service. But then bad people begin demanding money that her husband apparently skimmed as a drug runner. After someone who threatened her is killed, "Sam" reinvents herself a little more by becoming an amateur private investigator. The resultant interrogations and divagations, mostly dangerous and violent, get her in trouble with the hunky detective in charge of the case. Middle-of-the-road prose, narrative, and plot make this debut mystery an optional choice for larger collections.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Has Potential Dec 30 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This new series has potential. The problem with it is that the author is trying too hard to be Janet Evanovich and trying too hard to make Sam into Stephanie Plum...and moving too fast to make either work.
Stephanie's involvement as a bounty hunter makes some warped sense -- she's out of work, desperate, and forces herself upon her cousin in order to make what she believes will be fast money. Sam is a soccer mom who runs a dating service. While I can see her wanting to protect her boys, it didn't make much sense that she'd involve herself in the danger that went along with this case when she had so many people willing to help her. Also, it made no sense at all that this woman who's struggling so bad financially that she had to sell her house and her husband's vintage car and move in with her grandfather would use the money for a boob job and slut wardrobe, rather than putting it away to take care of these boys she's so concerned about.
The other problem is that Stephanie and her posse are characters we've gotten to know over time as the series has progressed, which has allowed us to feel for them and "pick a side" in the Joe/Stephanie/Ranger triangle. In this, the first book of the series, two men are vying for Sam and she ends up having sex with one of them. The whole thing just moves too fast without letting you get to know the characters, so it's hard to really care much about them or who Sam ends up with. And while it took three or four books for Stephanie's exploding cars to get old, it only took about 100 pages for Sam's ruining her clothes (and whining about it) to get old.
The author really does have the potential here for a fun series, but she needs to slow down and take her time, rather than trying to force nine installments of Stephanie Plum into one installment of Sam Shaw. Perhaps she could pick up Nancy Bartholomew's "Strip" series to see how it's done.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Revenge is Mayhem April 15 2003
Format:Hardcover
Samantha (Sam) Shaw - she of the PTA meetings and soccer supervision - cleans up after her recently demised husband Trent. In the trunk of his car she finds a cache of panties with adherent post-it notes ranking them. In belated revenge Sam sells her house and uses the proceeds to have her breasts brought up to popular standard, get a new and slinky wardrobe - and to buy Heart Mates, a seedy dating agency.
And now things start to progress. Husband Trent was a traveling salesman, dealing with condoms. That does not mean that he should sleep around. Sam hires Blaine, Trents car mechanic, to be her assistant. Grandpa Barney, a retired magician, handles all the computer work. Gabe Pulizzi, ex cop. helped her with a security system. Part of that system is Ali, oversized German Shepherd with a fondness for beer. The police contributes detective Rossi who can not get enough view of the thongs Sam has taken to wearing.
And then there are the bad guys. It seems that Trent has been dealing in drugs rather big time and started to skim the proceeds. The bad guys want their money back, and Sam is in serious trouble, not knowing anything about it all.
The story develops into a free for all, everybody against everybody else. But the thongs remain within view, and the bad guys get caught and punished.
Satisfying throughout.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny new series April 2 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book. It made me laugh.
Samantha Shaw (Sam) used to be a happily married, PTA president, soccer mom. When her husband died from a peanut allergy, she purchased Heart Mates, the dating service where they met. Then she found out the life she had been leading was all a lie. Her husband left her broke and was cheating on her. So to get revenge, she sells his pride and joy, an antique Mustang that Sam was never allowed to drive, and gives herself a makeover, including a breast job.
Determined to become a successful businesswoman, Sam does her best to make a go of Heart Mates. When her newest client turns out to be a thug who zaps her with a stun gun, threatens her life unless she comes up with half million dollars, Sam decides to fight back not just leave it to super handsome police detective Rossi to solve the case. With the help of sexy private detective Gabe, Sam sets out on a hilarious adventure to find the money and beat the thugs that threaten her and her family while the bodies keep piling up.
This book reminded me a lot of the Stephanie Plum series. Sam had two hunky guys vying for her affection. Sam goes through designer outfits faster than Stephanie goes through cars. It was very funny and action packed. Sam kept finding herself in all kinds of messes she had to get herself out of. Gabe was a wonderful character who helped Sam learn what she needed to survive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh new voice in the amateur sleuth genre! May 31 2002
Format:Hardcover
It took her husband's death for Samantha Shaw to find out what a lying, cheating pig he really was. She takes back control of her life by becoming a businesswoman (she buys the dating service that introduced her to her dead husband), and she gets breast enhancement surgery and takes Tae Kwon Do lessons. No longer the dowdy soccer/PTA mom, Samantha is ready to start her life over by being a strong, self-sufficient woman and the best mother possible to her two preteen sons. But when her husband's past misdeeds come back to haunt her and threaten her family, Samantha turns to her hunky detective friend Gabe Pulizzi for help.
Samantha isn't a pushover anymore. She has to find out about all of her husband's many lovers and crimes so she can determine who is threatening the lives of her family. But as she untangles the web of lies and deceit, it becomes harder to know whom she can trust.
Jennifer Apodaca is a fresh voice in the amateur sleuth genre. Samantha Shaw is laugh out loud funny, witty and a role model for jilted women everywhere. Samantha's family and friends are a hoot to read about as well. Her grandfather is a magician and computer wizard who manages to get online access to everything she needs. Her sons are realistic and wonderful and her mother is brash yet believable in her need to try to control every situation. Her best friend Angel is a hoot to watch as well as she does everything she can to make her ex-husband's life miserable. And even Ali, the beer guzzling family dog and protector is a blast to read about. I have no complaints about this great book, other than the fact that the second one isn't available yet to read. Fans of Janet Evanovich and Nancy Bartholomew take notice, Jennifer Apodaca is the newest talent in mystery for your must read list. A perfect treat!
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