Top positive review
A FUNTASTIQUE FEMALE FUGITIVE FLORIDA-STYLE
on September 3, 2003
Having firmly transplanted her roots from Saint Louis to Florida, Elaine Viets has taken leave (hopefully only temporarily) of her sleuthing Saint Louis journalist Francesca Vierling series and introduced a new Florida based heroine, Helen Hawthorne.
Helen is on the lam in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from something that involved a cheating husband and a crowbar back in Saint Louis. Being a fugitive in Florida means abandoning successful executive position with six figure salary and all the benefits for a series of on your feet for eight hours dead-end jobs that provide a no questions asked cash (but barely minimum wage) salary. Currently this means Helen is serving as a sales associate behind the "green door" of Juliana's the ultra-chic clothing boutique for the hopelessly anorexic and surgically augmented young ladies of the Florida party circuit. This also means living at the less than exclusive Coronado Apartments which, while lacking the pink flamingos of Saint Louis, is abundantly filled with quirky and fun residents.
All is going adequately until Helen begins to suspect her manager is pushing designer drugs in addition to designer clothes and embezzling money from the store as well. Then murder enters the picture! And since the police consider her a suspect, Helen realizes that she's going to have the find the murderer herself. And then there's that new gymbot fire inspector living in her apartment complex.
Elaine Viets has a way with creating totally believable characters and putting them in situations that guarantee a good mystery and a lot of laughs. SHOP TILL YOU DROP is a brilliant start for a great new series, and Helen Hawthorne is a welcome addition to the world of fugitive fiction who should have a long run. That is, unless the powers that be in Saint Louis track her down in one of her dead-end jobs in Florida. This one gave me a lot of enjoyment, and I highly recommend it!