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Shop Till You Drop

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Once on the fast track to success, Helen Hawthorne is now going nowhere fast.  She traded in her chic life for a shabby one.  And now she's on the fun, jumping from city to city and dead-end job to dead-end job, trying to stay one step ahead of her past...After two weeks as the new salesclerk at Juliana's, Fort Lauderdale's ultra-exclusive clothing boutique, Helen still fe Once on the fast track to success, Helen Hawthorne is now going nowhere fast.  She traded in her chic life for a shabby one.  And now she's on the fun, jumping from city to city and dead-end job to dead-end job, trying to stay one step ahead of her past...After two weeks as the new salesclerk at Juliana's, Fort Lauderdale's ultra-exclusive clothing boutique, Helen still feels out of fashion.  And since the only crime likely to be committed around here is being old-or worse, looking old-Helen figures she is safe.  Until she discovers the manager has been embezzling money and selling designer drugs along with the designer clothes.  Add murder to the mix-and Helen's dead-end job is downright deadly.


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Once on the fast track to success, Helen Hawthorne is now going nowhere fast.  She traded in her chic life for a shabby one.  And now she's on the fun, jumping from city to city and dead-end job to dead-end job, trying to stay one step ahead of her past...After two weeks as the new salesclerk at Juliana's, Fort Lauderdale's ultra-exclusive clothing boutique, Helen still fe Once on the fast track to success, Helen Hawthorne is now going nowhere fast.  She traded in her chic life for a shabby one.  And now she's on the fun, jumping from city to city and dead-end job to dead-end job, trying to stay one step ahead of her past...After two weeks as the new salesclerk at Juliana's, Fort Lauderdale's ultra-exclusive clothing boutique, Helen still feels out of fashion.  And since the only crime likely to be committed around here is being old-or worse, looking old-Helen figures she is safe.  Until she discovers the manager has been embezzling money and selling designer drugs along with the designer clothes.  Add murder to the mix-and Helen's dead-end job is downright deadly.

30 review for Shop Till You Drop

  1. 4 out of 5

    Luffy

    This book was a well constructed machine-like work of art. You can see the cogs and wheels, the gears and other plot devices. The book is unashamedly nude. It wears its heart on its sleeve. The was a scrapable amount of muted humor in the book, but nothing to smile about. That's just a mental picture I'm trying to posit here. It's not a complaint. The lack of surprise, the paucity of a clever twist robbed it of that final fifth star. But I was mightily impressed. I've become a person of interest i This book was a well constructed machine-like work of art. You can see the cogs and wheels, the gears and other plot devices. The book is unashamedly nude. It wears its heart on its sleeve. The was a scrapable amount of muted humor in the book, but nothing to smile about. That's just a mental picture I'm trying to posit here. It's not a complaint. The lack of surprise, the paucity of a clever twist robbed it of that final fifth star. But I was mightily impressed. I've become a person of interest into this series and have already sideloaded the 2nd book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    The first book in a series about Helen who found her husband with another women and since he had been a stay at home husband she was ordered by the court to pay him. She didn't agree and took off. Now she has to work at poorly paid jobs that are paid under the table so she can stay hidden. She is working at a high class clothing store, when she notices that the main employee,Christina, is selling drugs and overhears her planning a murder. Helen finds that Christina is black mailing several peopl The first book in a series about Helen who found her husband with another women and since he had been a stay at home husband she was ordered by the court to pay him. She didn't agree and took off. Now she has to work at poorly paid jobs that are paid under the table so she can stay hidden. She is working at a high class clothing store, when she notices that the main employee,Christina, is selling drugs and overhears her planning a murder. Helen finds that Christina is black mailing several people so it is no wonder Christina is found murdered. Helen has to figure a way to solve the murder without bringing attention to herself.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Really 3.5 stars, but I rounded up. I have heard people simply raving over and over again about how good this series is, so when I saw this book at a rummage store about a year ago, I picked it up and bought it. Until now, however, I never got around to reading it. Shop Till You Drop was a funny, fast-paced start to a longstanding series that's a favorite with many cozy readers. Helen was a MC down on her luck. Unlike most cozy mystery main characters, we don't know much about Helen's past when we Really 3.5 stars, but I rounded up. I have heard people simply raving over and over again about how good this series is, so when I saw this book at a rummage store about a year ago, I picked it up and bought it. Until now, however, I never got around to reading it. Shop Till You Drop was a funny, fast-paced start to a longstanding series that's a favorite with many cozy readers. Helen was a MC down on her luck. Unlike most cozy mystery main characters, we don't know much about Helen's past when we first start the book, finding out only a few vague details. However, the pieces of her extremely interesting past are soon put together. I loved Margery, Tara, and the rest of the supporting characters, and I hope we see them again in the next book. The setting was actually wonderful. Most of the story took place in a wonderful older apartment complex and Juliana's, an extremely upscale clothing store, and Ms. Viets did a wonderful job of describing both. The mystery, however, left a lot to be desired. There was no real climax at the end, and I didn't like the way the mystery was set up; you knew who the killer was for quite awhile and you just had to find the evidence. It was disappointing. Overall a solid book. I'll read the next one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Read this as I had heard Elaine Viets talk about all the jobs she has held and how this inspires this series of dead end jobs. Light mystery, non-gory killing and some humor. Just what you'd expect from this low key, if not a cozy, at least, less violent entry into the mystery world. I started with as it is the first in the series featuring Helen Hawthorne. Will I read another? Perhaps, but will pick the job, rather than going in sequence. For me, a non-fiction journey with the author and the jo Read this as I had heard Elaine Viets talk about all the jobs she has held and how this inspires this series of dead end jobs. Light mystery, non-gory killing and some humor. Just what you'd expect from this low key, if not a cozy, at least, less violent entry into the mystery world. I started with as it is the first in the series featuring Helen Hawthorne. Will I read another? Perhaps, but will pick the job, rather than going in sequence. For me, a non-fiction journey with the author and the jobs she has held would probably be more satisfying.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diane Morasco

    Shop till You Drop is one of the best, laugh your butt off mystery books out there. Helen Hawthorne is one of the most impressive characters to come along in the saturated amateur sleuth genre. Elaine Viets has made her Dead-End Job mysteries must read. No matter what is going on. I was going through of one of my moody reading spells where you just couldn't find the right book to read & every unread book on your shelf just wasn't calling you. Shop till You Drop was shouting to be read. Well, I rea Shop till You Drop is one of the best, laugh your butt off mystery books out there. Helen Hawthorne is one of the most impressive characters to come along in the saturated amateur sleuth genre. Elaine Viets has made her Dead-End Job mysteries must read. No matter what is going on. I was going through of one of my moody reading spells where you just couldn't find the right book to read & every unread book on your shelf just wasn't calling you. Shop till You Drop was shouting to be read. Well, I read it ~ in one sitting. I believe one of the reasons I think the Stephanie Plum series is a total snore fest is Elaine Viets. She is one of the reasons I am so darn spoiled by excellent writing, laugh-out-loud amusing adventures & characters so vile or so endearing you just want them to be real. Elaine Viets' Dead-End Job Mysteries are addicting... like grapes, peanuts, potato chips or M&M's... one just will not do. Ms. Viets creates such vivacious characters, I was tempted to go for a stroll along Las Olas Boulevard & ring the bell @ Julianna's. I just wanted to see Christina up close. Helen Hawthorne is one of the most riotous, sensational & vivid characters you'll ever encounter. The cast of secondary characters are delectable, whimsical & priceless. Elaine's plotting is ingenious & her wicked sense of humor is reason enough to pick up Shop till You Drop. This is definitely a series lovers of the cozy genre should scoop up & readers in search of incredible story telling should rush out to grab Shop till You Drop. Hurry go grab it. Heck, who am I kidding, order all of the books now. The only thing you will regret is waiting an entire year for the next hilarious mystery adventure w/ Helen & company.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stina

    #37 for 2011 Meh. I didn't hate this book, but mainly because it didn't try hard enough for me to actually work up any serious expectations. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that good, either. Not good enough for three stars, anyway. Just shy of mediocre, I suppose. Lots of contrived and/or predictable elements. Characters that are either made of cardboard or internally inconsistent. And I do hate it when the author's petty personal biases are so transparent. Ms Viets obviously has an ax to grind #37 for 2011 Meh. I didn't hate this book, but mainly because it didn't try hard enough for me to actually work up any serious expectations. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that good, either. Not good enough for three stars, anyway. Just shy of mediocre, I suppose. Lots of contrived and/or predictable elements. Characters that are either made of cardboard or internally inconsistent. And I do hate it when the author's petty personal biases are so transparent. Ms Viets obviously has an ax to grind when it comes to Canadian men, and this does not interest me as a mystery reader. I have the next few books in the series, so I expect I will read the next one and see if there is any improvement. But if book #2 weren't set in a bookstore, I would probably just give up now.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I really wanted to enjoy this book, as many have stated how funny it is. I think I have become a cozy snob, as I like my cozies to have a little more depth, and enjoyable characters. I did not find either with this book. I will not be continuing on with the series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tara Lush

    Truly outstanding. I laughed all the way through the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    Meet Helen Hawthorne, star of Elaine Viets' Shop Till You Drop. Helen on the run after an incident with a cheating husband and a crowbar and has left affluent (though dowdy) St. Louis for an impoverished life in chic (but sleazy) Ft. Lauderdale. Working off the books for cash, she is an assistant in a high end boutique. But anorexia and kleptomania are the mildest problems she sees. There are drug sales, hit men, and the murder of a co-worker to contend with as well. This book is a breathlessly f Meet Helen Hawthorne, star of Elaine Viets' Shop Till You Drop. Helen on the run after an incident with a cheating husband and a crowbar and has left affluent (though dowdy) St. Louis for an impoverished life in chic (but sleazy) Ft. Lauderdale. Working off the books for cash, she is an assistant in a high end boutique. But anorexia and kleptomania are the mildest problems she sees. There are drug sales, hit men, and the murder of a co-worker to contend with as well. This book is a breathlessly fast read and lots of fun for lovers of cozies. I'm off to find myself the next in the series asap.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David Caldwell

    I was lucky enough to get to meet this author while attending a bookstore manager's meeting. This is a nice cozy style mystery. Helen has a good job but then her life goes haywire. She finds herself running from her past as she travels from town to town and taking dead end jobs. Naturally she is trying to keep a low profile so when she stumbles across some funny business and a murder at her salesclerk job, she tries to quickly solve the murder before anyone takes too close of a look at her and th I was lucky enough to get to meet this author while attending a bookstore manager's meeting. This is a nice cozy style mystery. Helen has a good job but then her life goes haywire. She finds herself running from her past as she travels from town to town and taking dead end jobs. Naturally she is trying to keep a low profile so when she stumbles across some funny business and a murder at her salesclerk job, she tries to quickly solve the murder before anyone takes too close of a look at her and the past from which she is running. These mysteries will strike a cord with anybody who has ever been stuck in a job that is deemed a dead-end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    I thought this book had a good plot and mystery. I'm glad it's a series as I'll be able to connect more with the main characters. I grew to like Hellen as well as the landlady, Peggy and Pete the parrot, and detective Grace. While I liked the characters, I'd have liked some more character development. The writing style seemed too under-developed for the subject matter and main character's age. Also, there were some predictable moments in the story. Overall, shop Till You Drop was a good mystery an I thought this book had a good plot and mystery. I'm glad it's a series as I'll be able to connect more with the main characters. I grew to like Hellen as well as the landlady, Peggy and Pete the parrot, and detective Grace. While I liked the characters, I'd have liked some more character development. The writing style seemed too under-developed for the subject matter and main character's age. Also, there were some predictable moments in the story. Overall, shop Till You Drop was a good mystery and a good start to a series however, it left me wishing for more.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ✨ Gramy ✨

    I really enjoy mysteries filled with humor and this one has just that! The story line may seem stretched in reality, but after spending time in court rooms with family law I find that anything is possible. It was funny and fast paced, compelling enough to sit and read from cover to cover without putting the book down.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Met this author at a recent writers conference. So far, very much enjoying the book. A nice, humorous, light read and it's my first time reading her work. Really enjoyed this book. A cute, humorous, fast read. Enjoyable mystery and I'll be reading the others in this series. Met this author at a recent writers conference. So far, very much enjoying the book. A nice, humorous, light read and it's my first time reading her work. Really enjoyed this book. A cute, humorous, fast read. Enjoyable mystery and I'll be reading the others in this series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joy Smith

    This is a funny but sad look at various rich women in South Florida. Good Florida background, though not my milieu. The characters are interesting with dark secrets, which Helen, our heroine, eventually ferrets out. We also slowly learn Helen's dark secret--involving a crowbar--but know early on that she's on the run and needs jobs that give her a low profile. My favorite character is Margery, Helen's landlady. (My least favorite character is Helen's mother.) And I love the Epilogue. Oh, I love This is a funny but sad look at various rich women in South Florida. Good Florida background, though not my milieu. The characters are interesting with dark secrets, which Helen, our heroine, eventually ferrets out. We also slowly learn Helen's dark secret--involving a crowbar--but know early on that she's on the run and needs jobs that give her a low profile. My favorite character is Margery, Helen's landlady. (My least favorite character is Helen's mother.) And I love the Epilogue. Oh, I love Thumbs too. Lots of interesting characters, including some who end up in barrels. (Maybe it's best to avoid that part of Florida.)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    2.5 stars, rounded up to 3. Helen, the main character, was immature and annoying, making this read difficult at times. Otherwise, the story was light and fun, which is what I was hoping for. Helen thought she was smarter and more down-to-earth than the clientele at Juliana’s, which she was. However, her personality when dealing with people in her personal life was pure idiocy. She was immature, gullible, and impulsive. I probably won’t read another book by this author for some time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This book was pretty good read. The characters were well developed. I would read more of this series. Think it kept you guessing on what would happen. And was well written, and didn't have too much in was just right. I gave it a B or 3 stars. This book was pretty good read. The characters were well developed. I would read more of this series. Think it kept you guessing on what would happen. And was well written, and didn't have too much in was just right. I gave it a B or 3 stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    Helen is living in Florida and she is on the run from a scum bag ex-husband. She formerly supported him and he wants her to come back so she can get her great job back and begin to support him again. Helen now works for employers who will pay her cash only with no record on the books. That means low pay, but it also means her jobs are very interesting. Right now, Helen is working in a very exclusive clothing store for very exclusive women. These customers are all beautiful, and tiny and most of t Helen is living in Florida and she is on the run from a scum bag ex-husband. She formerly supported him and he wants her to come back so she can get her great job back and begin to support him again. Helen now works for employers who will pay her cash only with no record on the books. That means low pay, but it also means her jobs are very interesting. Right now, Helen is working in a very exclusive clothing store for very exclusive women. These customers are all beautiful, and tiny and most of them are girlfriends of very wealthy men. These customers also are ¾ human and at least ¼ plastic. They have had a lot of work done. The men are very wealthy and all their money may not have come from honest work. Not everyone who wants to shop there gets in the door. The sales people evaluate and make a decision If a woman is not dressed correctly, and the correct teeny size, the door will not open and she will not be allowed to enter. When the manager Christina disappears, Helen is concerned. She is afraid that some of Christina's extra ways of making money may have irritated some members of the mob. It seems to Helen that Christina has been playing with fire. Helen does not want the police investigation to include her, so he decides to look into what happened to Christina. If she can solve the mystery quickly, she hopes her cover will not be blown. This is part of a series which follows Helen in her adventures in jobs which are always low paying but always filled with adventure. Ms Viets has a knack for creating characters who are interesting,funny but not always likable. Helen and her neighbors at her apartment building are generally good people with small minor issues in their lives. There is never a dull moment by the pool. And the landlady can be relied upon to provide exactly what is needed when it is needed. The customers at the dress shop, on the other hand, are generally not the kind of women you would want to bring home to mother. Unless, of course, you wanted her to have a stroke so you could inherit her beloved collection of souvenir spoons. Although these women are lovely to look at, their characters are not filled with the milk of human kindness. This is a quick read. It is entertaining and the journey to the solution is a fun one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews

    This is the first book in the series by Elaine Viets about Helen Hawthorne who is lying low and taking jobs where she can be paid cash under the table so that her ex husband can't find her. They divorced but the judge said he was entitled to half of her income since he "supported" her....yeah right, typical male judge! I read this series out of order and while I don't think it hurt anything it would be better to read in order. So this is the first book, enjoy! This is the first book in the series by Elaine Viets about Helen Hawthorne who is lying low and taking jobs where she can be paid cash under the table so that her ex husband can't find her. They divorced but the judge said he was entitled to half of her income since he "supported" her....yeah right, typical male judge! I read this series out of order and while I don't think it hurt anything it would be better to read in order. So this is the first book, enjoy!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Williams

    The author did a great job painting a picture of the rich and snobbish patrons of exclusive shops in south Florida. I know, I live here and have seen them first hand. I loved each of the characters and their interaction with the main character. The pacing of the story was perfect. The mystery was solved, but there were enough possibilities that you are guessing right up until the end. Highly recommend, and looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Heather L

    Not being a fashionista, I never intended to read this series, and would not have picked up this book had the author not been selected as a featured author of the month in the Cozy Mysteries group. Those who love fashion may appreciate this series, but I personally do not feel compelled to seek out the next book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Read it again on February 3, 2014. Fun read again. :-D. Great cozy mystery with likable and real characters.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Solid start to the series. I enjoyed the story and the ending was really good. I liked how she had an epilogue and you found out what happened to the murderer.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    Funny read. Started out a little slow but the main character was funny and witty.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Missi Martin (Stockwell)

    The Dead-End Job Mystery series by Elaine Viets has been around since 2003 and there are 15 books in this series to date. I may be getting around to them late but I can assure you that I will be reading ALL of them !! Shop Till You Drop is the first book in this series and it was so fun and easy to read. You will instantly love Helen Hawthorne, the main character, as well as feel sorry for her. She had a great life in St. Louis...she had a husband, a nice house and a 6 figure paying job. Until sh The Dead-End Job Mystery series by Elaine Viets has been around since 2003 and there are 15 books in this series to date. I may be getting around to them late but I can assure you that I will be reading ALL of them !! Shop Till You Drop is the first book in this series and it was so fun and easy to read. You will instantly love Helen Hawthorne, the main character, as well as feel sorry for her. She had a great life in St. Louis...she had a husband, a nice house and a 6 figure paying job. Until she caught her husband cheating on her and she went crazy. And to make matters worse, the judge sided with her lazy, cheating husband and wanted her to continue to pay the man a percentage of her future earnings.... So she up and leaves and ends up in Fort Lauderdale working under the table, just making ends meet and staying under the radar so her ex will never get another dime from her !!! Well the job she has seems to be a pretty good job. She's working at a high-end clothing store .... where customers have to ring a doorbell to obtain access into the store !!! Helen's boss Christina is the manager and she knows the in's and out's of all the "popular" girls. Not only does she know the in's and out's but she knows some pretty heavy secrets.....secrets that get her killed !! Leaving Helen to fend for herself and try to figure things out. How can you not like a story where the main character is "running from the law", living in a little apartment complex with some interesting tenants, working with the police while trying to keep her past a secret, and trying to find out how Christina could afford the lifestyle she was living on the salary she was receiving as well as solve her murder. Oh and Helen knows that she can't work at Juliana's for much longer and trying to find another job where she can get paid under the table is not that easy. You cannot help but love her determination to keep her whereabouts from her ex-husband and the courts but feel sorry for her for having to live the way she is. I fell in love with Shop Till You Drop for so many reasons and cannot wait to read the next book in this series......Murder Between the Covers. I know that it will be just as great because I know where her next dead-end job is going to be and I LOVE IT !!!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annie Flanders

    I just finished reading this book tonight and I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. This book is a hoot. Our protagonist is a delightful lady named Helen who is on 'the lam' from a horrible two or three or four timing husband who cleaned her out financially. Unfortunately for her - the judge decided that she needed to keep paying him for Life - which is why she left her home and relocated to Fort Lauderdale FL. There - Helen has one interesting adventure after another. She has to work for plac I just finished reading this book tonight and I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. This book is a hoot. Our protagonist is a delightful lady named Helen who is on 'the lam' from a horrible two or three or four timing husband who cleaned her out financially. Unfortunately for her - the judge decided that she needed to keep paying him for Life - which is why she left her home and relocated to Fort Lauderdale FL. There - Helen has one interesting adventure after another. She has to work for places where she is pain under the table. This kind of limits her employment choices. When we meet her, she is working as a clerk in a high fashion boutique. The ill-fated owner of that boutique gets murdered and Helen works hard to track down her murderer. Helen's adventures as she tried to find out who murdered her employer kept me in stitches. Eventually she figures out who the murderer is - that person gets arrested and Helen moves on to another job and further adventures. One of my other favourite characters in the story was her delightful landlady. There are other interesting and delightful characters who wander in and out of the book. In my opinion this book is a must read for anyone who want s to read a book that will you howling with laughter in the middle of night - making your neighbors wonder WHAT you are doing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tess Ailshire

    I got this as part of a 7-volume set on Kindle. It took all I could do to get through the first, and the first couple of chapters of the second, volumes. Not only am I not interested in South Florida (Been There, Done That) or fashion or retail or drooling over anything male, but the book was so full of stereotyped, cliched characters as to be ludicrous, even for a cozy mystery. A store manager living in a million-dollar penthouse hadn't drawn interest before this? A store that locks its doors dur I got this as part of a 7-volume set on Kindle. It took all I could do to get through the first, and the first couple of chapters of the second, volumes. Not only am I not interested in South Florida (Been There, Done That) or fashion or retail or drooling over anything male, but the book was so full of stereotyped, cliched characters as to be ludicrous, even for a cozy mystery. A store manager living in a million-dollar penthouse hadn't drawn interest before this? A store that locks its doors during business days and only allows in certain people hasn't drawn law-enforcement interest? It's not Rodeo Drive. A former executive unable to figure out how to do better than a minimum wage retail job? A store owner uninterested in the workings of the store? A pothead who's never seen -- and who cleverly doesn't smoke while the police are nearby, as if the smell miraculously goes away when the blunt is put out. A fire that destroys an apartment and doesn't cause damage to any nearby apartment, including the pothead? Who's the best friend - Margery or Sarah - and what makes them friends other than wanting to live vicariously through someone else? And of course, Helen solves the mystery, because that's how things unfold.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Goan Booij

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is clearly targeted to women - which isn't a bad thing persé - and I only picked it up because I ran out of books during my travel. And I don't regret this choice! The beginning of the book started fine and I really enjoyed the image that was drawn of the high-end shop with a few regular visitors that all have their own personality but have a few things in common: their love for luxury and for plastic surgery. However, when the crimes took place, there was a huge sequence of "coincidenc This book is clearly targeted to women - which isn't a bad thing persé - and I only picked it up because I ran out of books during my travel. And I don't regret this choice! The beginning of the book started fine and I really enjoyed the image that was drawn of the high-end shop with a few regular visitors that all have their own personality but have a few things in common: their love for luxury and for plastic surgery. However, when the crimes took place, there was a huge sequence of "coincidences" that put me off as a reader quite a bit. Due to this I didn't "buy" everything that was happening anymore and I found the book to become unrealistic. In addition, I believe that some aspects of the end are a bit forced, like the relationship story and there was a lack of character development. So a by all, I enjoyed the book, even though it was strained. It's an easy read if you just want to read something without overthinking too much, as it's pretty straightforward.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tex

    A slightly more gritty cozy mystery, the first in the series, that brings Helen in as a fugitive from the Midwest who has to work in dead-end jobs so her ex-husband can't find her. It's a cute way to have a character in various situations while getting to know them. In this, Helen is working in a high end Las Olas boutique and comes across blackmail, drug-running, and MURDER. (teehee) More like 3.5 stars but rounded up because the start to the series was fun and I didn't hate the characters (alth A slightly more gritty cozy mystery, the first in the series, that brings Helen in as a fugitive from the Midwest who has to work in dead-end jobs so her ex-husband can't find her. It's a cute way to have a character in various situations while getting to know them. In this, Helen is working in a high end Las Olas boutique and comes across blackmail, drug-running, and MURDER. (teehee) More like 3.5 stars but rounded up because the start to the series was fun and I didn't hate the characters (although they were decidedly characteratures).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    I have nothing to read in the house -- Fortunately a neighbor had the beginning books of this Elaine Viets series. I read a few of these years ago, but not the ones she lent me -- so now I have six of these Helen Hawthorne - 'dead end job' mysteries to get me through the next few weeks. They are light-hearted and make constant references to my neighborhood restaurants, streets, shopping, clubs, etc. so it's perfect distraction for this corona filled month -- I especially enjoyed this one -- hope I have nothing to read in the house -- Fortunately a neighbor had the beginning books of this Elaine Viets series. I read a few of these years ago, but not the ones she lent me -- so now I have six of these Helen Hawthorne - 'dead end job' mysteries to get me through the next few weeks. They are light-hearted and make constant references to my neighborhood restaurants, streets, shopping, clubs, etc. so it's perfect distraction for this corona filled month -- I especially enjoyed this one -- hope the next is as much fun.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Though I've read most of the books in the Elaine Viets series "Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper," this is the first I've read in the "Dead-End Job" series. It's a bit darker than the Josie Marcus series, with characters with mob connections, as well as brief mentions of darker crimes. However, the main character, Helen, is likable and relatable. Based on her wacky connections and her terrible job, I'm curious to see what's in store for her in future installments of this series. Though I've read most of the books in the Elaine Viets series "Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper," this is the first I've read in the "Dead-End Job" series. It's a bit darker than the Josie Marcus series, with characters with mob connections, as well as brief mentions of darker crimes. However, the main character, Helen, is likable and relatable. Based on her wacky connections and her terrible job, I'm curious to see what's in store for her in future installments of this series.

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