by Cynthia Chow
& K.J. Larsen
This week we have a review of the latest Cat Deluca mystery by the three sisters who make up K.J. Larsen, a guest post about writing together & a chance to win a copy of Some Like It Hot-details at the end of this post.
Some Like it Hot: A Cat Deluca Mystery By K.J. Larsen
Review by Cynthia Chow
As the owner and sole investigator of Pants on Fire Detective Agency, Caterina “Cat” Deluca spends most of her working time taking pictures of spouses who happen to be out of their pants. However, as she slyly photographs an aspiring lothario and a big-busted blonde with a massive floral hidden camera purse, Cat spots her former classmate Billy Bonham dressed as Santa as he storms in–and soon races out of–the back offices of Tierney’s Irish Pub.
The last time Cat saw Billy he was being run out of town by her father and his partner, the future Bridgeport Police Captain Bob after they discovered Billy bouncing in the backseat of his car with Bob’s daughter. Since then, Billy is the first one to admit that his life has been a cesspool of failure. His computer business crashed, his infomercial invention tanked, his wife moved his clothes to the porch and another man into their bedroom, he just got rolled by two beautiful women who stole his wallet and his clothes, and even his suicide attempt was foiled by a jammed gun.
However, a late-night viewing of The Big Sleep inspired Billy to sign up for an online correspondence course to become a private investigator. With an almost-but-not-quite-there-yet license Billy has his first client, Cristina McTigue, a waitress fleeing Tierney’s since she witnessed a murder in the back office. However, as damages she’s claiming the diamond earrings she saw Kyle Tierney place in the bar’s safe, namely the diamonds worn by Marilyn Monroe in the iconic film “Some Like it Hot.”
Unfortunately, before Cat can prevent her new unwanted partner from learning the term “femme fatale” Billy is shot dead in a possibly random drive-by. The murder of the inoffensive and always likable Billy, combined with the sentimentality of Billy being her fiancée when they were eight years old, has Cat determined to bring the culprit to justice. After looking into Billy’s abysmal collection of clients, Cat is determined to wage an all out war against Tierney despite his full-proof alibi and an army of bodyguards.
Once again Cat is aided, and hindered, by her new assistant and former client Cleo Jones, her mother who fakes heart attacks to keep her family in line, and her assortment of police relatives, one of whom failed his FBI interview by being tested as being insane. Her real FBI agent boyfriend Chance Savino attempts to do what he can to dissuade Cat from investigating. So Cat turns to the ever-present patrons of Tino’s, a deli where Tino has more sources than the police and one patron, Max, drives a Hummer and has skills that Cat is both tempted and terrified to explore.
In this third Cat Deluca mystery, the three sisters who write under the pseudonym K.J. Larsen once again prove that this series is much more than a shadow of the Janet Evanovich mysteries. The authors make Billy so charmingly a mess that his death truly has an impact on the reader and completely justifies Cat’s obsession with investigating his murder. The humor element is always the strongest attribute of this series–through Cat’s eccentric family and the other Bridgeport residents. Written with wit and hilarity but never straying from its heart, the authors craft a highly enjoyable mystery with a strong heroine and twisty plot sure to entertain fans of classic private eye mysteries.
Guest blog from the authors of the Cat Deluca books
When three sisters get together, it’s murder!
We’re Kari, Julianne, and Kristen Larsen, aka K.J. Larsen. We write the Cat Deluca Mysteries.
Our sassy protagonist, Cat Deluca, is an unlikely Chicago PI. After a short-lived marriage to a serial cheater, she established the Pants On Fire Detective Agency. She specializes in what she knows from her own history–getting the goods on wayward spouses. Cat is good at what she does. She scales balconies and teeters outside hotel windows to capture the perfect Kodak Moment. She has an outrageous, interfering Italian family brimming with Chicago cops and attitude. There’s a shifty uncle, three cop brothers, a switched at birth sister, and Papa who was shot in the bum by friendly fire. Mama has her priest on speed dial.
The question we get asked most often is “How can three sisters actually work together to write a novel?”
One reader said she can’t be in the same room with her sister without wanting to kill her.
We get it. Families are the best part of who we are, but they can also make us nuts and sisters can make you go postal. Sisters inspire murder. But if you write mysteries together, you can plot someone else’s grisly demise, and when you write with your sisters, you only have to be 1/3 as smart as a real writer. Do the math!
For us, writing as sisters is an adventure. We grew up in a family of six daughters. We were curious kids and often in trouble, acting out our favorite super heroes, flying from trees and playing Nancy Drew on steroids. A frozen grin of fear is permanently etched on our parents’ faces.
Five years ago, we got together over a bucket of clams and a bottle of wine and decided we missed each other. Living our own lives on opposite sides of the country, we sisters saw each other only a few times a year. Deciding to write a book was our way of reconnecting with each other. Now each morning, in pajamas and mascara-smudged eyes, we hang out on Skype. It’s our time to be kids again. Cat is hilarious. She always makes us laugh. We do it all with Cat- dodging bullets, escaping exploding cars and nailing a killer.
We write day to day, not knowing what will happen tomorrow. Each morning we ask the question: What does Cat do today? We loosely plot the day’s events and each sister writes the scene she is most passionate about. It usually works, but
sometimes there’s a train wreck.
At the end of our first book, Liar Liar, each sister believed a different person committed the murder. We were emotionally invested in the characters and passionate about the way we believed the story ended. There was bloodshed, but distance limits the damage.
Our third Cat Deluca Mystery, Some like It Hot, was released this month. It’s a harrowing tale with murder, a jewel heist and a couple of hunky guys. You might chew a nail or two, but it’s certain to make you laugh.
To enter to win a copy of Some Like It Hot, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Hot,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 6, 2013. U.S. residents only.
More mystery reviews, short stories and articles can be found in this issue, and those and others can be found in our mystery section.