How could I resist a mystery starring a freelance writer by the name of Jaine Austen. I discovered the first in this series written by Laura Levine last night as I was browsing my library's ebook collection. It was 10:30 and I had not a mystery in the house to read before sleep. Within seconds I was snuggled under the covers with my Kindle and ensconced in Jaine Austen's world ("..my mother is an Anglophile, and a bad speller.") in This Pen for Hire.
And don't you just adore the cover!
Ms. Austen lives south of Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills (the poor side) with her ever-hungry cat Prozac. She grew weary of her job in advertising and now writes personal ads, brochures, resumes, and letters for her Pen For Hire clients using her dining room table as a desk. Super-geek Howard ("poster boy for pocket protectors") hires Jaine to write a letter arranging a date with sexy Stacy the aerobics instructor at the local gym. Using all her powers of persuasion she pens a plea and Stacy says 'Yes' to Howard's request for a Valentine's Day date. But when he shows up at her apartment, Stacy is dead - bludgeoned by her own Thighmaster.
Poor Howard. Now he is in jail accused of Stacy's murder and Jaine, impelled by guilt, seeks to find out who really killed Stacy.
I liked Jaine immediately for her wit and sharp observations about life in fake-golden-tan Los Angeles.
Author Laura Levine has a background in advertising and sitcom writing which makes for some snappy dialogue, clever characters, and non-stop action. I love it.