Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Calamity Jayne by Kathleen Bacus
HOW DOES A BLONDE SPELL "FARM"? — E-I-E-I-O
— Tressa Jayne Turner has had it up to here with the never ending string of dumb-blonde jokes and her longtime nickname that's harder to get rid of than lint from a belly button. Crowned "Calamity Jayne" by Iowa Department of Natural Resources officer Rick Townsend, Tressa's out to gain a little hometown respect - or die trying. Unfortunately for Tressa, that may be the case. She's just been handed the perfect opportunity to get "Ranger Rick," the doubting Don Juan of the DNR, and a skeptical citizenry to finally take her seriously. How? By solving a murder no one else believes happened ... no one, that is, except the killer.
Yup, Calamity Jayne is in it up to her hot pink snakeskin cowgirl boots and matching rhinestone belt - and it's a matter of life and death, respect and reputation, love, happiness and the whole shebang. Tressa would tell you her momma never raised no dummies, but the jury's still out on that one. And as she learned in her work at the Dairee Freeze: Sometimes life hands you a big sloppy ice cream cone. You just have to know how to lick it.
This was a fun book but doesn't live up to it's marketing label. It was supposed to be a contemporary romance but honestly other than some love/hate name calling banter and a couple of smooches there wasn't much romance. It was more of a mystery but a weak one at that. I think the saving grace was that there were a few characters I loved. I loved the "hero's" grandpa who informed Tressa (aka Calamity Jayne) that he was the Green Hornet and she was his Kato and just needed to drive. This was before he pulled out a gun that would impress Dirty Harry for their protection which ended up stolen and used to murder a murderer.
I didn't like Bacus's way of wrapping up the mystery either. She builds up a somewhat suspenseful scene where the killer realizes Tressa is on to him/her and Bacus tries to continue the suspense by saying things like The Killer stared at Tressa. The Killer smiled a cold evil grin. So not identifying the killer during the big stand off for a a bit which I thought was a bit over kill and didn't make the mystery better. However, like I said there were some great (well, at least interesting) characters so I gave this book a 4 star rating and will read the next one. Oh and the blonde jokes peppered through the book were fun too.