Monday, October 09, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Nip, Tuck, Dead by Lori Avocato

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Nip, Tuck, Dead by Lori Avocato. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Nip, Tuck, Dead by Lori Avocato

Nip, Tuck, Dead by Lori Avocato
A Pauline Sokol Mystery
Avon Books (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-06-083704-7 (0060837047)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-083704-4 (9780060837044)
Publication Date: November 2006
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Ex-nurse-turned-insurance fraud investigator Pauline Sokol's willing to risk anything to put a bad doc out of business—even her best friend Goldie's near-perfect proboscis! Her cross-dressing compadre has agreed to get his shnozz bobbed so Pauline can pose as his private nurse and gain entry into Highcliff Manor—a posh plastic surgery "spa" making an illegal killing with their repeat clientele.

But when a super-rich "frequent flier" is unexpectedly widowed—and a receptionist who knows too much is given the boot . . . off a nearby cliff!—Pauline realizes she's stuck her own nose into something really nasty. Despite the pleasant distraction of the hunky Dr. Neal—and the unexpected appearance of her sexy cohort, Jagger—Pauline can't shake the feeling she's being closely watched. And if she's not careful, she'll be the next one who goes under the knife!

Review: Pauline Sokol travels to the playground of the rich and famous, Newport, to investigate some irregular insurance claims submitted by an exclusive clinic in Nip, Tuck, Dead, the 4th mystery in this series by Lori Avocato.

Returning to her former profession as a nurse, Pauline accompanies her roommate and best friend Goldie Perlman to the clinic; Goldie has decided he's going to splurge and treat himself to a "nose job". Once there, Pauline discovers a web of fraud and deceit that only she, in her own inimitable way, can unravel.

The mysteries in this series are light, entertaining, and not meant to be taken too seriously despite one or more dead bodies popping up every so often. A generally implausible storyline is taken for granted. And that's the great appeal of these books: they're escapist, fun reading. But in Nip, Tuck, Dead, the plot is exceptionally shallow and oddly a bit disturbing. If the doctors at the clinic are suspected of submitting fraudulent insurance claims (a felony), why would Pauline allow Goldie to risk surgery there before ascertaining the truth?

Furthermore, it's more than a little suspicious that Goldie's elective, cosmetic procedure is suddenly a medically necessary one (and presumably covered by insurance) when he's diagnosed with a deviated septum. The irony of the situation seems lost on Pauline who now appears to be a party to the crime she's there to investigate.

The best part of the books in this series is the amusing way Avocato depicts Pauline's relationship with her family, her friends, her man-of-the-moment, and, of course, the mysterious Jagger. Nip, Tuck, Dead does not disappoint in this regard.

Those who have enjoyed the previous adventures of Pauline will no doubt be pleased with this one. But Nip, Tuck, Dead is not a good introduction for readers new to the series.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing an ARC of Nip, Tuck, Dead for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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