The title hints at a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek read, and it definitely delivers. Allison Janda has known success as a journalist, and her natural writing abilities help this fun novel to flow enjoyably by with every page turned.
In that vein of “chick-lit murder mysteries” popularized by Janet Evanovich, the book treats readers to a down-to-earth and relatable lead character, Marian Moyer. Most of us women have a touch of Marian inside us; and we’ve all had those drop-dead gorgeous friends, like Marian’s bestie Addison, to relate to as well. Janda scores high marks for creating a protagonist that we wholeheartedly root for. The novel also does an excellent job of supplying that required list of suspects that any mystery must include: the one you know you are meant to suspect, the one you know you’re supposed to trust, the diversion, and the red herring. Just when you think you’ve put that list in order, Janda mixes it all up a bit. It’s the kind of writing technique that I know I’d never be able to execute half as convincingly, and it goes a long way in making the read worthwhile.
There were times when I began to feel that the text was trying a little too hard to be clever, which should never have been worry. Janda need not rely upon cliched metaphors or turn every sentence into a complex somersault of literary prowess. I seemed to notice this more at the beginning of the book, and so feel fairly confident that as Janda’s manuscript evolved she easily settled into a more comfortable and non-forced rhythm.
Overall, however, my abiding memory of this book will be that it made me smile. In these days of so much seriousness and global empathy, that counts for quite a lot. Now that I feel I know Marian Moyer like a new literary friend, I very much look forward to reading Janda’s further books in the series.