by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Deal with the Devil, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Reading anthologies by a favorite author can be a tricky thing, as original short stories often serve as opportunities for writers to experiment with new characters and tones. While enjoyable for the author, fans may feel disappointed if they do not see appearances by their favorite characters. That is why this new anthology by Elaine Viets is such a rewarding delight, as it presents heroines from her many best-selling series, while also showcasing equally outstanding original new stories.
Helen Hawthorne, the wry and quick-witted star of the Dead-End Job Mystery series, is seen both before and after she becomes a professional private investigator. A temporary job on a cruise ship has Helen solving a con in “Sex and Bingo,” while my favorite of the stories finds Helen and her landlady on a PI job tracking down a charity’s embezzler in the Big Easy. Early fans of Elaine Viets will remember her darker series featuring reporter Frances Vierling, who in “His Funkalicious Majesty” is a 1974 fashion writer encountering racial tensions during an exclusive event countering that of white elites. A truly unexpected gift is the appearance by Viets’ newest protagonist in “Gotta Go,” where Chouteau County’s Death Investigator Angela Richman is seen before she suffers her debilitating stroke, on the scene of a suspected suicide. She proves to be a fascinating, sharply observant foil to the lazy, self-involved detective partner.
The upper-middle class lifestyle is brilliantly exposed in the satirical “Death of a Condo Commando,” “Vampire Hours,” and “Red Meat,” with the latter depicting a husband whose dream personal trainer becomes a personal nightmare. The author strips these communities of their veneer of polite manners and designer fashions, revealing the hypocrisy and selfishness that lies beneath.
These are but a tasting of the treats in store for fans of Elaine Viets and her observant, biting humor. Within each short story characters are fully developed, with wry twists that prove to be as satisfying as unexpected. This is a stunning collection of fourteen well-crafted tales, and it guarantees that new fans as well as loyal readers will be left wishing for even more selections by a talented author.
To enter to win a copy of Deal with the Devil, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “deal,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 12, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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