Sticks And Stones
by K.J. Larsen
All Cat DeLuca wants is to chase cheaters and avoid her crazy family. But when she and her assistant, Cleo, find Walter, Cleo’s louse of a husband, dead, and Cleo is suspected, Cat is on the case. She soon uncovers evidence that Walter was blackmailing a lot of people. So who killed him? The construction company owner? The fashion diva? Or is this murder related to a decade’s old death that could also have been murder? With a beagle and a gun toting assistant by her side, a hunky FBI boyfriend and equally hunky bodyguard on her side, Cat has nothing to worry about…except her mother’s constant worrying, a priest praying for her soul, and a pesky cheater who won’t let himself be photographed in delecto flagrente…and a murderer on the loose.
Nothing new here for a plot, but what fun this is. Humor abounds in this tale and I need to pick up Larsen’s first novel, Liar, Liar. However, you do not need to read the first one (but you should) to be introduced to and her crazy family and fabulous workmates.
Caterina ‘Cat’ DeLuca: Chicago private investigator. Has three brother-all cops. Father is a cop. Has one sister. Attended Catholic school. Divorced. Owns a beagle. Drives a Honda. Cousin is a prosecutor. Likes Dr Pepper flavored lip gloss
Cleo Jones: One of Cat’s former clients, works at Cat’s office, husband ran away with her money, dog and sister. Drives a Camry-fast. Dyed hair. Squawky voice except when she sings. Likes guns
Leo: has a tattoo of a lion on his right hand, blue eyes, short brown hair, cop
Ken Millani: owner of a construction firm, member of a neighborhood council, Catholic
Tino: Deli owner, round face, former covert operative, drives a bullet proof car
Chance Savino: FBI agent, Cat’s boyfriend, handsome, tall, cobalt blue eyes, drives a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, also owns a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
Jake Manovich: bookie, violent when his customers don’t pay, long blond hair, beer belly
Max: Tino’s friend, Cat’s former bodyguard, chiseled, muscular, Danish
Lots of fun quirky characters here. Everybody is a hoot.
Some good voices with Max calling Cat Kitty and Chance calling her DeLucky. Even the minor characters are great.
First person from Kat’s POV. A few instances of missing words and a couple of garbled sentences. The similarities between this group of characters and the ambiance of the story to Stephanie Plum are plenty. However, there are enough differences to keep you interested. I didn’t think there were too many laugh out loud moments, but I was constantly smiling throughout. Cat is a wonderful protagonist who worries about her weight, her mother, her age, and her appearance, all in a spunky humorous way. I want more of this character.
My ranking (despite the mistakes):