Let me start by saying that I have never been to the South but it’s definitely on my list of destinations. I have met quite a few individuals from Georgia, Mississippi and New Orleans, and this has re-enforced my need visit the South. There is something endearing about the drawl of the accent and the wit that seems to be inherent within each southerner I’ve met and the books I’ve read. I’m a sucker for any movie or book set in the South and as a result I have read all of Charlaine Harris‘ Sookie Stackhouse novels, own the Trueblood boxsets and downloaded Louisiana Longshot off Amazon. Of course, it didn’t hurt that this Jana Deleon creation was free on Kindle…
After a botched CIA mission involving a powerful arms dealer and an inconveniently places stiletto heal, Agent Fortune Redding needs somewhere to lay low for a while until the bounty that’s been put on her head, goes away. Her handler decides that she will assume the identity of his niece, a quiet, former beauty queen turned librarian, and relocate to Sinful, Louisiana. All Fortune has to do is keep her head down and stay out of trouble. Seems simple enough. Even though Fortune knows nothing of high heels, hair extensions, acrylic nails or libraries. By her own admission, the last thing she read was an article on making a silencer out of a Q-tip and autopsy reports.
She arrives in Sinful and immediately thing start to go wrong. And by wrong, I mean the lazy dog that came with the house she is staying in digs up a bone on the property thrusting her, kicking and hair-flipping, in the lime light. She meets some of the locals, including the town sheriff and deputy. Among them, some of Sinful’s noisiest geriatrics. Things are not what they seem and before she can break another heel, Fortune is in the middle of the murder-mystery of the century in Sinful. If she gets too close, she could blow her cover but she can’t sit around and do nothing if people are dying. Also the old ladies, who seem to have taken a liking to Fortune, won’t seem to let her just sit around, not between the 7am church wake-up calls and midnight coffee cake and tea visits.
The Writing Style
None of the books in this series are particularly long so it was a quick read. A massive contributing factor to this was the easy style of the writing. Deleon is able to keep the pace high and the action plentiful while maintaining quick wit and banter one usually associates with the South. Deleon makes it seem so easy! I have read so many books that have tried to achieve what she does so effortlessly. The way the story is mapped out, you feel like you are the fourth member of the group, figuring out the clues as you read along. The writing draws you in slowly and won’t let you out. Or maybe that’s Hotel California. Anyhow…
I honestly have nothing bad to say here!
I’m going to be honest. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I downloaded this book. I didn’t know Deleon as an author and I wasn’t entirely sold on the book cover but once I picked it up, I could not for the life of me put it down. The characters are so well-rounded and endearing to the reader. The situational comedy that seems to follow Fortune around is hilarious without seeming contrived. The characters that make this book a true pleasure to read are the ladies of Sinful. These retirees have sharp a wit, fantastic banter and uncharacteristically sound knowledge of pop-culture. These characters are so fantastic that you almost wish you knew them in real life.
The plot is fairly easy to predict but the execution is what really matters here. I figured out who the killer was early on but had such fun going along for the ride. Especially when the Sunday Banana Pudding race happened. You get the feeling from the get go that these old ladies are more than meets the eye. Turns out they are all war veterans and each has her own specialisation. What’s more, none of them have ever been married and do not believe in relying on men. This creates a fascinating dynamic. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who likes a bit of mystery and a whole lot of comedy. It is one of the few books that has made me laugh out loud in a very long time and as a result, I bought the rest of the Miss Fortune Mystery books.
My Rating: 4/5
Buy Louisiana Longshot at Amazon.com
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More from Jana Deleon
Lethal Bayou Beauty (2013)
Swamp Sniper (2013)
Swamp Team 3 (2014)
Dead Until Dark (2009)