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A Bad Day for Pretty: A Crime Novel Paperback – Apr 21 2011
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“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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.