Diane Kelly: Death, Taxes and Humor

I’ve just finished reading Diane Kelly’s debut novel, Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure, and I loved it.  Heroine (and narrator) Tara Holloway is a Special Agent in the Treasury Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.  Yep, she’s a gun-toting tax cop who’s finding the IRS a lot more exciting than the sedate Dallas accounting firm she used to work for.

Tara teams up with a DEA agent named Christina on an undercover investigation of a drug-peddling, tax-evading neighborhood ice cream man known as Joe Cool.  Joe’s not a very good ice cream man, but then it’s not a very good neighborhood, as the girls find out as they pose as ladies of no repute whatsoever, spending their days in an empty house they call the Crack Shack, and driving around in a pink Caddy from the DEA impound lot.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Tara is also on the trail of a “investment program” that looks a lot like a Ponzi scheme.  Unfortunately the new man in her life, a charming landscape architect, is a little too well acquainted with the men running that show, even carrying shipments of brochures and cash back and forth between them.  Is Brett an innocent dupe?  He doesn’t seem that easily dupe-able.  But he doesn’t seem like the dishonest type, either.   I will confess that I peeked.  Not at the end of the story, but at the preview of the next installment, just to see if Brett’s name was mentioned.  Heck, no, I’m not going to tell you that.  Read the book.  Find out for yourself.

I know Diane as a fellow member of Romance Writers of America, but this isn’t a typical romance.  Nor is it a typical mystery–in spite of the title, the mysteries are financial and personal, but not homicidal.  St. Martin’s just put “novel” on the spine, but I found it in the mystery section of my local Barnes and Noble.  Click on the cover to find the book at Amazon, paper or ebook.

Tara’s next adventure, Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte, hits the bookstores February 28, followed by Death, Taxes, and Extra-Hold Hairspray on July 1.  I’ll be waiting.