Does anyone remember the popular meme of Charlie Day in the mail room from Always Sunny in Philadelphia where he’s in front of a whiteboard with a whole bunch of clues and he’s almost ripping his hair out trying to make connections? That was me reading this book!
This is the second book I’ve read by Diane Bator and one thing she does well is quirky characters. As a reader, you never know if you want to strangle all the characters or laugh at their idiosyncrasies. I was definitely stuck somewhere in between.
I mean, it’s not every day some person asks you to solve their husband’s murder and to find evidence to prove that THEY were the one to do it! Most people are trying to avoid being put in jail but not this wacky character.
The main characters in this book are Katie and Danny. Katie is on the lam after she decided to not take the phrase “snitches get stitches and wind up in ditches” to heart and had to start a whole new life. Danny is her boyfriend, man piece, lovah, honeybunny and if people read the other books in this series, then they are already familiar with this duo, as well as with the other characters in this book.
You don’t have to read the other books in order to get a good grasp of this series. Diane does an amazing job with keeping the readers engaged with just enough detail to not make a reader lost, while also not making books seem repetitive where they have to explain the whole series again in the same book (if you are like me, then you skip it in the subsequent books because you’ve already read them, and you don’t need a rehash *insert rage fist in the air*)
Anyways… The balance is there and I appreciate the author for riding that fine line between retelling and moving into the next book, seamlessly.
This book, The Conned Lady, was more challenging than the the last we reviewed, Dead Without Remorse. Was it suspenseful, full of humorous characters, and a lot of whodunit? Yes, but, it was that, on CRACK! This book was more… meaty. I felt like I needed an anxiety pill by the middle and at the end, I wanted that pill in the limo! Talk about tension!
Although, even with all the anxiety, I do love a good mystery. Call me a sadist.
I wasn’t sure what was going on, who was involved, what this murdered husband had to do with anything and how Katie and Danny’s past had anything to do with what was happening. I thought there were two simultaneous mysteries going on at once, and there were, but there was also a connection as well that the reader gets to experience in the end.
I suspected everyone! Some guy walked by one of the main characters, yup, he was a bad guy. A bird flew by, the bird was surveillance to the mob! Just kidding 🙂
Everyone did it and no one did it. Who I thought was shady was perfectly mundane and who I thought was just a regular, innocent person… You will never be bored with this book. I was eagerly engaged and I wanted to see how this all wrapped up in the end and it does wrap up in the end. After taking the reader on a wild ride, the ending was everything my anxious soul needed!
There was only one thing that I didn’t care for, and it could have been because I didn’t get to experience Danny and Katie’s relationship from the beginning, but they felt a little stiff to me and there were parts where I wanted to go full “Oh no you didn’t just say that, what an asshole.” But also, other parts where I thought Katie was being too much. She was scared but continued to do shit that would endanger her? It wouldn’t be bad if one minute she wasn’t talking about being terrified and then the very next second she is all “lets climb a fence and get a closer look.”
The setting of this book is cute and we readers could picture the different places the characters went to. The author doesn’t describe them much but you still get a good feeling about them.
As I said in the beginning, the unique characters were also the comedic break when the tension was getting to be too much. Someone would make a joke or something would happen where the reader is chuckling and the tension is broken. The humor is dry and mostly sarcastic but it is there and very much appreciated.
The author does mystery well and she balances the giving some information to keep the reader’s brain spinning but also does it slowly to where the reader isn’t like, “It was the butler in the library with the candlestick!!!” by the middle of the book. The reader figures out who may be involved by the middle but the whole picture doesn’t come into view until the end.
To be honest, I probably never would have picked up this series on my own but like she did with the last book I read as part of a series, Bator, makes me want to know more about the what happened before this book, who are the rest of these characters, etc.
Cover Score: 8.7/10
Book Score: 8.8/10
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