Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Review: A Date You Can't Refuse

Summary: Serial dater and greeting-card artist Wollie Shelley goes undercover in a media-training company suspected of video piracy, but when a dead body appears on the company’s property, she’s caught up in a conspiracy that goes way beyond some stolen DVDs.

Wollie Shelley isn’t happy about taking the job as a “social coach” at MediaRex, but the FBI makes her an offer she can’t refuse. If she agrees to infiltrate the company, they’ll guarantee that her schizophrenic brother will have a home at the federally subsidized halfway house he’s come to love. So Wollie launches into teaching three foreign celebrities how to cope with the customs of Beverly Hills, improve their English, and become Oprah-ready. And when a coyote-chewed corpse appears in the MediaRex compound, Wollie realizes that her colleagues are concealing some serious secrets of their own. -- Broadway

This might sound a little weird, but I wanted to read A DATE YOU CAN'T REFUSE by Harley Jane Kozak because I remember watching Ms. Kozak on Guiding Light (many years ago.) I was addicted to the daytime soap and I just loved her character Annabelle. Ms. Kozak went on to star in many other movies including Parenthood, The Favor and Arachnophobia, but I'll always remember her best for her role on Guiding Light. When I learned that she was an author (and supposed to be a good one at that), I just knew I had to read one of her books.

I absolutely loved this book! I haven't read a lot of mysteries the past year or so, but A DATE YOU CAN'T REFUSE has convinced me that I shouldn't have stopped reading that genre. This book was terrific. This novel is the fourth book in the Wollie Shelley series and I am so excited that there are three more books out there for me to read.

This book hooked me in right from the start, and I think it's because I adored Wollie. She is not your typical detective, crime-solving character -- she's actually a greeting-card artist. She does not consider herself to be overly adventuresome, yet she finds herself in very strange circumstances with very strange people. I thought Wollie was hilarious. The book was told from her point-of-view, and I can't even tell you how much I laughed at her antics.

I also thought the mystery aspect of this story was wonderful. The storyline kept me guessing and I was pretty surprised when all was resolved at the end of the book. There were many twists and turns, and I found myself questioning characters that I thought I trusted (so did Wollie.) If you enjoy the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, then I'm betting that you will love this novel too!

As you can tell, I am absolutely sold on this book and dying to read the rest of the books in this series. Ms. Kozak's first book in the series DATING DEAD MEN won the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. The big question I keep asking myself is why I've never read any of these books before! Ms. Kozak has a terrific website, and she also writes for the grog (a group blog) The Lipstick Chronicles. If you aren't following this grog, you really should! Ms. Kozak along with her five best writer friends take turns blogging on a variety of subjects. I love reading all of the posts, and find myself smiling a lot of the time.

A big thanks to Alisha from the Crown Publishing Group for sending me this book.


bermudaonion said...

Your enthusiasm makes me want to read the book. I'm impressed that the author went from acting in soap operas to writing quality novels.

Gwendolyn B. said...

Wow, you really liked it! I'm always on the lookout for a good mystery series - I'll check this one out. But I'm especially happy to have been led to the grog - it looks like fun.

Ladytink_534 said...

I've read the first two books in this series Dating Dead Men and Dating Is Murder but that was back in 2005 and I haven't gotten around to picking up the others. Oh I haven't visited The Lipstick Chronicles Blog in years!

Amy said...

I like mysteries, too, and find I have little time for them lately. I haven't heard of this, but I'm glad you enjoyed it and it looks great!