Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Pumped for Murder by Elaine Viets

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Hardcover; 1 edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451233204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451233202

Product Description


The latest Dead-End Job mystery from the national bestselling author of Half-Priced Homicide.

Helen Hawthorne and her new hubby Phil have opened their own P.I. agency and their very first client is Shelby, who thinks her husband is developing a killer body for another woman.

To keep track of the suspected cheater, Helen gets a dead-end job at Fantastic Fitness, where she has to pump iron to stay employed. Then the budding agency takes on a murder case, and Helen has to move her workouts to the early morning just to keep up. With so much weight on her aching shoulders, will Helen catch a killer-or just drop dead from exhaustion? 

About the Author


As a young girl, Elaine Viets was taught the virtues of South St. Louis: the importance of hard work, housecleaning, and paying cash. She managed to forget almost everything she learned, which is why she turned to mystery writing.

Living in South Florida has not improved her character. But it has given her the bestselling Dead-End Job series. Like her amateur detective, Helen Hawthorne, Elaine actually works those rotten jobs. Perhaps her early training has given her a lifelong fascination with jobs. She and Helen both know working for a living can be murder.

To research her novels, Elaine has been everything from a salesclerk to a survey taker. Her first book in the series is SHOP TILL YOU DROP, a novel of sex, murder and plastic surgery. It's set at a fashionable dress shop that caters to kept women. Book two, MURDER BETWEEN THE COVERS, takes place at a bookstore. Elaine worked at a Barnes & Noble in Hollywood, Florida, for a year.

For the third, DYING TO CALL YOU, Helen works as a telemarketer. Elaine sold septic tank cleaner and did telephone surveys. She actually asked women if they shaved their armpits. In the fourth Dead-End Job mystery, JUST MURDERED, Elaine and Helen explore big-money matrimony for better or worse. Elaine did her research in Zola Keller’s posh bridal salon in Fort Lauderdale.

For the fifth novel, Elaine and Helen go to the dogs. MURDER UNLEASHED is set at a high-end dog boutique, where people spend two hundred dollars for canine cuisine, women sneak illegal pets into condos using high-priced designer purses, and the dogs at the store have bigger wardrobes than the salesclerks. MURDER UNLEASHED is Elaine's first hardcover mystery. Publishers Weekly calls it “wry social commentary.”

Although Elaine lives in Fort Lauderdale, her heart – and her viewpoint – remain in the Midwest. Like Helen Hawthorne, another transplanted St. Louisan, she observes the outrageously rich Florida culture (and lack thereof) with wide-eyed fascination.

Elaine’s second series takes her back to work in St. Louis. It features Josie Marcus, a mystery shopper and single mom. The debut novel, DYING IN STYLE, tied with Stephen King on the bestseller list for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Elaine won both the Agatha and the Anthony Awards for her short story, "Wedding Knife," in CHESAPEAKE CRIMES.

Some honors don’t come with plaques and award banquets. Elaine was thrilled when her short story, "After the Fall," was featured on the same cover of the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine as the master, Ed Hoch.

Her short story, "Red Meat," is in BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS, the Mystery Writers of America anthology edited by Lawrence Block. "Blonde Moment" is in the MWA anthology, SHOW BUSINESS IS MURDER, edited by Stuart Kaminsky. "Sex and Bingo" is featured in the HIGH STAKES gambling anthology. And if you've ever wondered about the early life of purple-loving landlady Margery Flax, read "Killer Blonde" in DROP-DEAD BLONDE.

Elaine has served on the national boards of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with her husband, actor Don Crinklaw, where they collect speeding tickets.

Please buy her novels so she can pay her MasterCard.

My Review

I very luckily won an advanced reading copy of Elaine Viets latest book in the Dead End Job mystery series, Pumped for Murder, on her website.  I have read this entire cozy mystery series by Elaine Viets and have been enjoying it immensely.  She has developed a great group of supporting characters for Helen Hawthorne to interact with.  Newly married Helen and her husband Phil live in the Coronado Tropic Apartments in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Elaine makes living at the Coronado sound like so much fun that I want to live there too!

In this first outing of the newly formed detective agency, Coronado Investigations, that Phil and Helen have formed they are investigating two cases. The first is investigating a possible philandering husband for client Shelby.  In order to investigate Shelby's husband, Helen takes a job at the gym Shelby's husband Brian frequents, Fantastic Fitness.  As a low paid receptionist at the gym, Helen is still taking on a dead end job but for a better reason this time out. And she may even get into shape at the same time!

The second case is a 25 year old case that has long been considered a suicide.  Phil and Helen's client Gus Behr believes that his brother may have actually been murdered and has them investigate...but will their client like what they find out.

I highly recommend this latest outing for our Dead End Job detective, Helen Hawthorne.  I love being back with these great group of characters in South Florida!  Another winner from Elaine Viets!

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