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Dying To Call You: A Dead-End Job Mystery Mass Market Paperback – Oct 5 2004

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (Oct. 5 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451213327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451213327
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 1.9 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #925,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Wry sense of humor, appealing, realistic characters, and a briskly moving plot."

All the ingredients for an irresistible mystery. (Jane Heller)

About the Author

Elaine Viets has actually worked those dead-end jobs in her mystery novels,just like her character, Helen Hawthorne. Over the years, Elaine has been a dress store clerk, phone book proofreader, babysitter, telemarketer, bookseller, and weed puller at fifty cents a bucket.  She is also the author of the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series and numerous short stories. Elaine has won an Anthony Award and an Agatha Award. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with her husband, author and actor Don Crinklaw.  Please visit her blog: The Lipstick Chronicles.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa7e95888) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7ed8114) out of 5 stars Dying To Read More June 21 2008
By J.E. Stephens - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very entertained with this book. Helen's gig as a telemarketer brought back memories of my college days when I gave away free cemetary plots as a telemarketer. It was before computers and we used the phone book. My favorite comeback was, "I don't need it, I am immortal."

This story was exciting to the last page. Imagine hearing a murder taking place on the phone. Helen was brave to investigate this murder. She is quite a talented sleuth.

I am glad to have discovered this series by Elaine Viets and I look forward to reading more by her.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7ffad2c) out of 5 stars a good read Nov. 5 2004
By tregatt - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Once she was earning a huge salary and had a big corporate job, but now all that's changed: on the run from her cad of an ex-husband, Helen Hawthorne (not her real name) has severed all ties with her family and her past and is living in Florida and working at dead end jobs (hence the title of the series), working off the books and for pennies in order to make ends meet. Currently, Helen is working as a telemarketer, attempting to sell Tank Titan Septic System Cleaner to the unwary public. One night, however, while conducting a 'phone survey to the home of Henry Asporth, Helen overhears a woman being strangled. And even though calling the police might mean that her past may be uncovered, Helen does so anyway. The police, when they do make it to Asporth's house, find nothing; and Asporth manages to persuade the police officers that Helen had overheard an old movie that was playing on the TV. Helen, however, is adamant that she really did hear a woman dying. And indignant that the police have brushed off her concerns, decides to do some detecting of her own. Soon, Helen finds herself skulking about in the playpens of the rich and the decadent; she may be in over her head, but she's determined to nail the murderer of the unfortunate young woman she overhead die...

Fast paced and compelling, "Dying to Call You" proved to be a riveting read. Elaine Viets does a wonderful job of vividly bringing to life the hellish life of a telemarketer. I liked her portrayal of the series heroine (Helen Hawthorne) and the storyline was a rather good one too. Also well done was the credible manner in which the author allowed for Helen to uncover info/clues and solve the mystery. All in all, "Dying to Call You" was a really enjoyable 4 star read.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f0321c) out of 5 stars superb amateur sleuth Oct. 5 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Helen Hawthorne caught her unemployed husband having sex with their next door neighbor and in a rage she wrecked his SUV. The Judge ordered her to pay alimony because her spouse spent the last few years taking care of her and their home while she earned a six figure income. An irate Helen refuses to pay one cent so she leaves St. Louis relocating in Fort Lauderdale where she accepts dead- end jobs that pay under the table.

Her current job is a telemarketer at Tank Titan System Cleaner where the callers who pick up curse, hang up, and general humiliate her because they think she is as a low life. During a phone survey with Hank Asparth, he places the instrument down without hanging up; thus she overhears him arguing with a woman until she realizes that he strangled her. Helen calls the police, but they find nothing suspicions. She can't let it go so she calls the victim's sister Savannah to only to learn her sibling has been missing for several days. Helen believes that Savannah's sister Laredo is dead and plans to learn the truth.

DYING TO CALL YOU stars one of the liveliest audacious and entertaining heroines to grace an amateur sleuth tale. She chose to become a fugitive because she believes in justice and opts to expose herself for the same belief. From going topless to stealing from the mob, this protagonist will do whatever it takes to prove Hank killed Laredo

The investigation is cleverly designed adding to the proof that Elaine Viets is a talented storyteller who keeps her readers engaged.

Harriet Klausner
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f0315c) out of 5 stars Nosey Telemarketer Aug. 16 2006
By dessert - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The interesting part of this amateur sleuth, Helen, is her dead end telemarketer job. Good insight into the telemarketers world: predominantly abusive calls received by telemarketers, their low self-esteem, poor working conditions & low pay. You feel sorry for them & wish you can be kinder to them next time round when they call on you.

As for the mystery factor in this book, its average with quick turning action so you won't get bored. Helen is simply too nosey to stay put in any one place at a time so the mystery unravels in many places with quick wit. The repartee between Helen & Margery, the landlady is always entertaining.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f035d0) out of 5 stars Getting On The Hot Line Jan. 15 2005
By Beth D - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Helen Hawthorne hates her new job as a telemarketer. Selling Tank Titan, a Septic cleaner isn't how she planned her career.

But when you're on the run from the law and can only take jobs that will pay cash under the table, you take what you can get. Some of her previous jobs in a dress shop and book store weren't all that great either.

After a particularly good day on the phone, Helen is sent to telemarketing heaven. Instead of selling Tank Titan, she is moving over to other side of the business for the night and doing Survey's.

This night looked like it was going to be good. Taking survey's from rich people about a particular brand of vodka.

At least it looked good until she calls Hank Asporth and hears a woman being strangled on the other end of the phone.

The police investigate immediately, but find nothing and tell Helen she just heard the television. Helen's made even more suspicious when Hank's lawyer shows up, he doesn't demand she be fired for the outrageous claims she made, just asks that she doesn't repeat them.

It's up to Helen to solve a murder she knows happened without getting too much police attention on herself.

Helen hooks up with Savannah Power, the sister of Laredo Manson, who Helen has determined must be the victim. Together they get into the very seamy side of life with the super rich in Florida.


Helen is a great character. She's so smart and funny, you just hate the predicament she's gotten herself into.

Fred and Ethel Mertz - the new snow birds at the apartment complex, who turn out to be the most obnoxious couple you could ever meet.

The mystery, very involved and complicated. The books have really evolved from the first one, "Shop Till You Drop." which I did not like.

Phil the pothead - who lives next door to Helen and saved her life once. She has never actually seen him in the entire time she's lived there, even when he saved her life, she only saw his shirt.

Margery Flax - Helen's 70ish landlady, who has more energy than I do.


I still don't believe the reason why Helen thinks she needs to be on the run. It makes no sense, they don't hunt killers as hard as she thinks they'd be looking for her. Every time we come to this section of the books, it makes me re-evaluate how smart I think Helen is.

Phil the pothead - we finally meet him face to face. I'm not sure if that's a good thing for the stories , or if he should have remained an elusive person.

Overall a good read. This is still a short series, so it makes a great fill in series to read while waiting for the new book from your favorite author. Also check out Elaine Viet's 4 book series - featuring newspaper reporter Francesca Vierling.