Elaine Viets, Killer Cuts Reviews

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“Killer Cuts ”

★★★★★

written by Harriet Klausner on 05/03/2009

Killer Cuts
Elaine Viets
Obsidian, May 2009, $22.95
ISBN: 0451226860

When a judge awarded her cheating husband half of her considerable earnings, she refused to pay it (see SHOP TILL YOU DROP). Defying the court order, she left the state, changed her name to Helen Hawthorne, and ended up in Fort Lauderdale at the Coronado Tropic Apartments where she becomes friends with the landlady Margery Flax. She accepts dead-end jobs with her latest at Miguel Angel's salon where she receives tips and minimum wage for running errands, making drinks, and sweeping floors.

Miguel and Helen go to the house of Honey's fianc to fix her hair and make-up so she can marry a privileged old billionaire Kingman Oden who writes the Stardust Gossip blog that tell all about celebrities. Honey is pregnant and refuses to marry Kingman if he insists on a pre-nuptial. One hour after they exchange vows, the "King" is dead, a homicide victim. Miguel is the prime suspect because he was seen arguing with the victim and issued a loud death threat at the King. Helen refuses to accept that Miguel killed Oden; so she seeks evidence to clear him while trying to get all the details finished for her wedding to Phil. However, increasingly everything so far hangs Miguel.

The latest Dead-End Job mystery (see CLUBBED TO DEATH) is an exciting whodunit made much more fascinating by the fact that the victim is an unsympathetic character who had enough enemies to fill the Miami Orange Bowl (pre- demolition that is). The King royally upset his ex-wife, his former mistress, his ex business partner and much of the Southern Florida population. The support cast adds a key degree of plausibility to this fine amateur sleuth, but it is Helen with Phil's help who owns the plot as she does her best to exonerate her boss; her efforts lead her into interesting scenarios.

Harriet Klausner

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