Death, Taxes, and Diane Kelly

A few days ago I finished reading Diane Kelly’s Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte.  I’m afraid this isn’t exactly hot news–the book was released in March–but if you visit here now and then you know I buy books much faster than I can hope to read them.  And between working, and writing, and serving on two RWA chapter boards, I don’t seem to have the reading time I once did.  Sigh.  That was a long time ago. when I could read several books a week.

At any rate, in her second adventure as a tax cop (her first was Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure) our heroine (and narrator) Tara Holloway is hot on the trail of loan shark and probable murderer Marcos Mendoza.  Well, not so hot, maybe.  Mendoza has no criminal record in the U.S., and his case has been shelved for a while.  Now Tara and her partner Eddie find themselves following one dead-end lead after another, while Mendoza’s suspected body count grows.

Tara may be bored out of her skull staking out post office boxes, but Kelly never bores her readers.  One of the funniest scenes I have read in years had me laughing out loud, as Tara tries to read a mystery novel while an insistent and very needy flasher begs for her attention (see Chapter 8: Big Whoop).

Tara’s friends and supporting characters are back in force.  Her landscape-architect boyfriend Brett copes with her job stress.  Tara drags her best (but snobbish) friend Alicia to a resale shop in search of stake-out disguises (and lives to regret it).  Christina the DEA agent helps with some unauthorized smuggling.  And Ajay the Emergency Room doc, well, I’m not going to tell you what he helps with.  It’ll be much funnier if you discover that for yourself.

When I walked into the Readers for Life book signing at the RWA Conference in Anaheim last month, I had no trouble spotting Diane, somewhere near the center of a room filled with hundreds of authors sitting four or five to a table, surrounded by enthusiastic readers.  She was wearing a pink beehive wig (truthfully, it reminded me more of an enormous twist of cotton candy) in honor of Tara’s boss, Lu (the Lobo) Lobozinski.  I think Lu’s hair figures in the next book, Death, Taxes, and Extra Hold Hairspray.  I’ll find out–that one is sitting on the top of my To Be Read Soon stack.  We’ll have to wait a few months for Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria, due from St. Martin’s in January 2013.