Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mystery Book Review: A Job to Kill For by Janice Kaplan

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of A Job to Kill For by Janice Kaplan. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

A Job to Kill For by Janice KaplanBuy from Amazon.com

A Job to Kill For by
A Lacy Fields Mystery

Touchstone (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-4165-3213-7 (1416532137)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-3213-2 (9781416532132)
Publication Date: August 2008
List Price: $24.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): As a tireless mom of three, the doting spouse of a surgeon, and a talented interior designer to the stars, Lacy Fields can always find the perfect piece to finish a puzzle, a living room -- or an investigation.

When Lacy's beautiful young client Cassie Crawford drops dead after a sip of tea in her newly decorated L.A. penthouse, Lacy once again finds herself in the midst of murder. She's stunned when suspicion lands on her own best friend, hot Hollywood casting agent Molly Archer -- whose "friendship" with Cassie's billionaire mogul husband brings her to the attention of the LAPD.

Lacy will have to set aside seeking antiques to hunt down a dangerous killer. But this time, she's not alone. Sleuthing becomes a family affair: her son, Grant, works underground (literally) at UCLA to help her; fifteen-year-old Ashley is consoled by celebrities when her mom is hauled off by cops; Lacy's husband, Dan, provides forensics; and even little six-year-old Jimmy helps Mom find a murderer.

From a rough-and-tumble biker with a heart of gold to a relentless university fund-raiser, Lacy will follow every one of Cassie Crawford's precarious footsteps in order to clear her best friend's name. But by doing so, will she put her own family in the path of a desperate killer?

Review: Los Angeles interior designer Lacy Fields, decorator to the stars, gets a chance to use her hobby as an amateur sleuth once again in A Job to Kill For, the second mystery in this series by Janice Kaplan.

Lacy's latest job is to decorate the new penthouse of billionaire tycoon, Roger Crawford, and his latest wife Cassie. When Cassie meets with Lacy to view the final touches, Cassie checks everything, including the refrigerator where she is delighted to find a few bottles of her favorite tea. Offering Lacy a bottle that she politely declines, Cassie proceeds to take a drink and moments later is dead. The tea had been poisoned and Lacy was the last person to see Cassie alive. The police put her name atop the suspect list. But there are others who had access to the penthouse. Molly, Lacy’s best friend from college, and billionaire Roger were seen going into the penthouse the evening before the murder, though Roger claims he had not yet been given a key. Questions definitely needed to be answered, but Lacy thinks the police are asking all the wrong questions to all the wrong people. She knows that if she can cross the threshold of a flea market and zero in on an unrefined treasure, she can make use of her obvious deduction and reasoning skills in locating a killer.

A Job to Kill For is a fresh, light-hearted, at times even droll, mystery that provides great escapist entertainment. The narrative is fast-paced and the plot pleasingly complex without being convoluted. As is typical of this subgenre, special attention is paid to who is wearing which designer and how smart it all looks. But Kaplan enriches her story with Lacy's family life ("Work hard while you are working, but give 110 percent to family when you are at home.") that admittedly suffers when she adds detecting to her day job of decorating. Though her husband and children don't have a lot of face time, as it were, they are an integral and memorable asset to the story.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Job to Kill For and to Touchstone Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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