Summary and book reviews of Dating Dead Men by Harley Jane Kozak

Dating Dead Men

By Harley Jane Kozak

Dating Dead Men
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2004,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2005,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

Los Angeles greeting-card artist Wollie Shelley is dating forty men in sixty days as research for a radio talk show host's upcoming book, How to Avoid Getting Dumped All the Time. Wollie is meeting plenty of eligible bachelors but not falling in love, not until she stumbles over a dead body en route to Rio Pescado—a state-run mental hospital—and is momentarily taken hostage by a charismatic "doctor" who is on the run from the Mob. Wollie fears that her beloved brother, a paranoid schizophrenic living at Rio Pescado, is involved in the murder, so rather than go to the authorities, she decides to solve the crime on her own. As she meets up with an array of small-time crooks and swaggering mobsters only slightly more sinister than the men she's been dating, Wollie realizes that "getting dumped" is the least of her problems. Finding true love, she discovers, sometimes means learning how to avoid getting killed . . .

Dating Dead Men will keep readers guessing until the final bullet is shot—and cheering for the irresistible Wollie as she makes her way out of confusion and into the welcoming embrace of Mr. Right

CHAPTER ONE

It was a cigarette burn.

I could scarcely have been more shocked if I'd discovered it on my own flesh, appearing out of nowhere, like stigmata. But it wasn't on me. It was on my grass green carpet, Aisle 3, Condolences/Get Well Soon, where I knelt, rooted in horror.

"Dear God," I said. "Dear God. Dear God."

"Girl, get a grip," Fredreeq called out, barging through the front door of my shop, Wollie's Welcome! Greetings. "I can hear those 'Dear Gods' all the way out to the parking lot. Did someone die? Is it Mr. Bundt? Please tell me Mr. Bundt died and I can take the day off and go to the beach."

"He's not dead. He's due here any minute. I was doing the final Dustbusting, and look, look--" I waved at the carpet. "At the last inspection, Mr. Bundt questioned the decor. I told him it was French Provincial. I can't pass this off as French Provincial."

"No." Fredreeq loomed over me. "Cigarette burns are strictly Trailer Park. ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Entertainment Weekly

It's the rare writer who has either a sense of humor or a sense of suspense. Kozak...has both--as she displays broadly in her debut novel.

Romantic Times

Readers will not want this warm and witty story, with its perfect mix of zen and zaniness, to end. Luckily, Wollie's adventures will continue in Kozak's next book.

The Arizona Republic Online

We like to avoid such words as wacky and screwball, but this is the sort of book they were made for. It's also a funny and surprisingly entertaining debut.

Booklist - Kristine Huntley

Kozak's debut is a lively, funny romp for fans of lighthearted mysteries.

Publishers Weekly

Even Stephanie Plum's antics will seem sedate after readers make the acquaintance of Los Angeles's own Wollie Shelley....Kozak has struck gold first time out with a wacky, high-octane plot and characters to match.

Library Journal - Shelley Mosley

This incredible debut novel is the first in a series of dating mysteries, and libraries of all sizes will want it for their collections.

Kirkus Reviews

Rejoice. Newcomer Wollie is funny, brave, smart, and altogether the fetchingest crime fiction heroine since the early Stephanie Plum.

Author Blurb Lee Harris, author of Murder in Hells Kitchen
Harley Jane Kozak has created a set of delightful characters in Dating Dead Men. Wollie, her entrepreneur extraordinaire, manages to deal with a murder, the Mafia, an appealing but mysterious love interest, and a killer who wants to see her dead, all with originality and humor. Lately, I find myself looking over my shoulder when I'm driving to see if there's a Hummer behind me. I hope she comes back for a second act.

Author Blurb Valerie Wolzien, author of A Fashionable Murder
Lots of action, quirky characters, an engaging new sleuth who designs greeting cards, and a ferret named Margaret -- what more could any reader want? Dating Dead Men is a superb debut.

Author Blurb Kris Neri, author of Agatha, Anthony and Macavity Award-nominated Tracy Eaton Mysteries
Dating Dead Men, Harley Jane Kozak's hilarious debut novel, proves that the search for love can be as funny as it is deadly, as it ricochets from one madcap misadventure after another with the speed of a bullet and the uproarious fun of a three-ring circus. An absolutely delightful tale, told with warmth and charm, that will keep you guessing until the final pages.

Author Blurb Mary Daheim, author of Silver Scream A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery
Harley Jane Kozak fashions a doozy of a debut, starting cars, cads clothes and an L.A. world gone hilariously mad.

Author Blurb McKenna Jordan, Murder by the Book, Houston, Texas
Harley Jane Kozak not only capture's the reader's attention with a good action-filled story, but also the reader's laughs with Wollie's dating project, schizophrenic brother and crazy friends. Great plot only made better with great characters! Can't wait for the next one!

Author Blurb Jan Burke, author of Nine
Dating Dead Men is the funniest mystery I've read in ages. Any woman who has ever wondered how many more Mr. Wrongs she'll have to date to meet Mr. Right will love this book. Dating Dead Men is delightful, wicked, and well-written--I look forward to the next Harley Jane Kozak novel!

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