Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review of "Killer Cuts" by Elaine Viets

Helen Hawthorne has to keep a low profile so her grasping ex-husband can't catch up with her and demand half her wages. So Helen changed her name and works at a series of low-key jobs. As the story opens Helen is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida working as a 'gofer' at a beauty salon. The salon owner is Cuban immigrant Miguel Angel - who styles the local glitterati as well as wealthy women who can afford his fees (which start at $300 for a haircut).

One of Miguel Angel's clients is Honey, who's set to marry Kingman (King) Oden. King is an odious - but rich - slob and womanizer who drinks too much and makes a living by running a strip club and publishing gossip and secrets of high-profile people. Honey purposely got pregnant to get King to marry her without a prenup.

Cut to the wedding day: Helen and Miguel Angel are at King's mansion to do Honey's hair and makeup for the wedding. King wanders in, drunk and nude, and has a kerfuffle with Miguel Angel. The wedding proceeds, and during the reception King is found drowned in the mansion's pool. Miguel Angel becomes a person of interest to the police.

Helen, who is in the midst of planning her own wedding to her fiance Phil, is determined to prove that Miguel Angel is innocent. So Helen gets pictures and videos from the wedding photographers, questions people, looks for clues, and so on. There are plenty of suspects because King never met a person he couldn't insult or anger in some fashion.

The book has a slew of fun/eccentric characters including Helen's landlady Margery - a 76-year-old woman who constantly smokes and drinks and is partial to purple caftans and gladiator sandals; some of Margery's oddball friends. one of whom keeps a parrot on her shoulder; co-workers at Miguel Angel's salon; Helen's family; and others.

This is an entertaining cozy mystery that mixes Helen's murder investigation with her fun preparations for her wedding. Recommended for fans of cozies.

Rating: 3 stars

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