It was a hell of a longshot…
CIA Assassin Fortune Redding is about to undertake her most difficult mission ever–in Sinful, Louisiana.
With a leak at the CIA and a price on her head by one of the world’s largest arms dealers, Fortune has to go off grid, but she never expected to be this far out of her element. Posing as a former beauty queen turned librarian in a small, bayou town seems worse than death to Fortune, but she’s determined to fly below the radar until her boss finds the leak and puts the arms dealer out of play.
Unfortunately, she hasn’t even unpacked a suitcase before her newly-inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard. Thrust into the middle of a bayou murder mystery, Fortune teams up with a couple of seemingly-sweet old ladies whose looks completely belie their hold on the little town. To top things off, the handsome local deputy is asking her too many questions. If she’s not careful, this investigation may blow her cover and get her killed.
Armed with her considerable skills and a group of old ladies referred to by locals as The Geritol Mafia, Fortune has no choice but to solve the murder before it’s too late.
This book was indeed somewhat of a detour from my usual reading. It is 100 percent free of science fiction, urban fantasy or fantasy. Yes, yes, you can say the same thing about the Nero Wolfe novels that I have been reading but I kind of count them in a special category. This book is written with the same style, atmosphere and character types as a urban fantasy book but it is obviously not such a book.
The book blurb above describes the basics of the story quite well. Fortune is a likable character. Her monologues and dialogues can be quite funny and, as the blurb states, she is a CIA (unfortunately) assassin. The two ladies that runs the, so called, Geritol Mafia as well as most of the town are quite some characters and at times downright hilarious. They are also much more than what they seem to be at first glance.
The little town that the author has created is very nice although I have to say that I wonder how much is inspired by a real small Bayou town and how much is downright parody. There seems to be a “character” behind every corner.
The book is a mystery novel but it is a very humorous mystery novel. You can probably call it a mystery/comedy fusion novel. Everything is threated with a good dose of humor. The town, the characters and not the least the overly religious aspect of more or less everyone in the town.
Like the two “warring” church factions that bring running shoes to church so they can be first to the cafe and their banana cake after the sermon. There are never enough cake for both congregations so hence the need to run out of church.
Or the various rules where pretty much everything is forbidden depending on which day it is but the Sheriff never seems to give Fortune a ticket for her various offences, mostly “indecent exposure”.
Or the fact that it is a “dry” town, so dry that everyone has a standing order of the home made “cough medicine” that the two devout church going members of the Geritol Mafia are making.
Luckily all the comedy elements do not overshadow the actual mystery. To me this is a mystery novel with a large dose of comedy and not the other way around. There are all the obligatory elements for a mystery like mysterious disappearances, investigation, sneaking around, twists, a bit of danger, deaths and so on and so forth.
Overall I have to say that I liked the book. It was a fun read. It, mostly, struck a nice balance between the funny stuff and the mystery stuff. Books two is already in the pipeline for me.
If I should complain about something it would be that, for a trained super assassin, Fortune falls on her ass a bit too much. She does some ass-kicking as well so it is really a minor nit-picking.
What did drag down the book a bit though is the rather feminist attitude of men are useless and women rule throughout the book. Now I have to confess that I am not sure if this is supposed to be part of the comedy bit. It is done quite humorously and it doesn’t really come over as preaching but at the same time it is applied a bit heavy-handedly and becomes a bit tiresome. To the extent that I almost pulled a star for it.