Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book review: Louisiana Longshot by Jana DeLeon (Miss Fortune Series #1)

Review by Sarah Jordan

Publisher's Blurb: 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.

Review: OUT-FREAKING-STANDING! I can't believe how much I loved this book. When I finished it I was really annoyed because I love Fortune and the nutty world of Sinful, Louisiana so much I didn't want to leave them.

Fortune is a CIA assassin whose cover has been blown, so her boss sends her to lay low in the tiny bayou town of Sinful, posing as his beauty-queen/librarian niece who has just inherited a house from her deceased aunt. Fortune has spent her entire life - including her childhood - training for her career as CIA spook/assassin, and she only understands tactics, weapons and missions. The idea of spending months in hiding in a small town terrifies her almost more than the price on her head. Immediately after arriving, though, her life is anything but quiet. She meets two old ladies who are full of surprises, and before she knows it she's teamed up with them to locate their missing friend Marie, whose abusive, jackass husband disappeared years ago. But one of his bones has just washed up on Fortune's back yard, and Marie is nowhere to be found. Everyone assumes Marie murdered the jerk, and her friends want to find her and simultaneously find another suspect to give Marie a chance at beating a murder charge. Pretty soon Fortune is up to her eyeballs in the wacky shenanigans of her two new friends Ida Belle and Gertie, who do not act like little old ladies. They are shockingly prepared for anything, well-armed, running the town, and think nothing of bending the law a bit. And every time Fortune ends up in a compromising position, usually dressed in a towel, or a trash bag and ski mask (yes, you read that right), she is caught by the town Deputy, a hunky, exasperated man trying his best to find Marie also.

Fortune is a great character - she is paranoid,smart and capable, comfortably killing anyone who needs killing, but her solitary live has left her ill-prepared for her budding friendship with Ida Belle and Gertie, and the emotional aspects of friendship. Plus, they seem to be hiding something - a lot of things, and Fortune is never sure just how much they know before they rope her into their next hare-brained scheme. From outrunning alligators on an island that smells like dung, shooting raccoons in her own attic, racing old ladies for banana pudding, or stripping naked to ride in Ida Belle's car, the craziness never ends and it all makes perfect sense.

DeLeon is really funny - I was laughing out loud so many times. Her writing is confident and self-assured, allowing the pace to move along at a fast clip. As crazy as the characters seem, and as nutty as their adventures are, they still seem so real and believable. I really cared about them and hope this is the start to a very long series. 5 out of 5 Modokker Book Pick stars.

For more information check out the author's website at www.janadeleon.com/.

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