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Shelf Renewal

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Nobody puts backlist in a corner—readers'-advisory experts Karen Kleckner Keefe and Rebecca Vnuk bring attention to older titles by featuring "dusty books" and offering read-alikes for what’s hot on the holds list.

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Monday, January 13, 2014 9:31 am
Plum Tuckered Out of Evanovich Readalikes?
Posted by: Karen Kleckner Keefe

takedownOh, the Plum puns never get old. New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is tackling her twentieth case. Consequently, Janet Evanovich’s recap, Takedown Twenty, is enjoying its seventh seek on the New York Times Bestseller List. Be ready for fans who can’t wait for Top Secret Twenty One to come out this June.

Dating Can Be Murder by Jennifer Apodaca
Her cheating husband’s death leaves California soccer mom Samantha Shaw two young boys, no source of income, and just enough money in an insurance payout to cover a boob job and a storefront lease to start her own matchmaking service.

Body Movers by Stephanie Bond
When her parents left Atlanta to avoid prosecution for a white-collar crime, Carlotta Wren, got a job at Neiman Marcus, got dumped by her fiance Peter, and got to work creating a stable home for her brother Wesley. Ten years later, Peter’s wife is killed, and Carlotta is the only person who believes he’s not the murderer.

Candy Apple Red by Nancy Bush
Process server and PI-in-training in Lake Chnook, Oregon, Jane Kelly’s first case is looking for her ex-boyfriend’s best friend–a man who disappeared four years ago after being convicted for killing his entire family. The case is complicated by Jane’s kinda-cute boss and the return of her ex-boyfriend. 

Sofie Metropolis by Tori Carrington
After calling off her wedding, Queens waitress Sofie Metropolis asserts her independence by moving out of her parents’ house and going to work for her uncle, a Private Investigator. Mostly pawned off on missing pet cases, Sofie catches her big break when a standard cheating spouse stakeout at a hotel turns up a dead body.

What’s a Girl Gotta Do? by Sparkle Hayter
Long before Bridget Jones and her gang of chicks hit the scene, (although right around the time Stephanie Plum made her first appearance…) Sparkle Hayter wrote a mystery series featuring a funny, sassy, spunky amateur sleuth named Robin Hudson.  I can’t help but wonder if the series would have been a huge hit if it had come out during the chick lit heyday instead of 5 years too early.  The first book of the series is What’s a Girl Gotta Do?, where Robin, a second-string television news reporter, finds herself in the middle of blackmail and murder while trying to deal with job and ex-husband issues.

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Isabele “Izzy” Spellman, never thought that her family was normal, but when she starts dating a nice dentist she sees life inside her parents’ San Francisco private investigation firm with a fresh set of eyes. Just how weird is it to bug your children’s rooms? To have your 12-year-old negotiate a fee for every household chore or bite of healthy food? To run a complete background and credit check on the nice dentist you’re dating?

Our Lady of Immaculate Deception by Nancy Martin
Single mother Roxy Abruzzo is trying to set a good example for her teenage daughter. So, it’s understandable that she would want to cover up the fact that in the course of acquiring items for her Pittsburgh architectural salvage business she helped herself to ancient Greek statue without the owner’s knowledge. Naturally, when the owner is murdered, Roxy needs to work quickly to clear her name.  She’s able to get a little help in her investigation from her “connected” Uncle Carmine. (A little edgier than Martin’s popular Blackbird Sisters mysteries, but with the same quick wit.)

Audition for Murder by Susan Sussman and Sarajane Avidon
Another mystery that sits languishing on the shelf, probably because Sussman and Avidon quickly wrote a sequel… and then never wrote another.  Which is really too bad, because this title and the followup, Cruising for Murder, are wonderfully written, funny and light mysteries that will appeal to readers who enjoy Evanovich’s sassiness.  Wisecracking Morgan Taylor is a Chicago actress-turned-sleuth.  In Audition for Murder, she is thrust into a spotlight she doesn’t want when 2 of her theatre pals are murdered.  In Cruising for Murder, Morgan is now a lead performer on a cruise ship, but it turns out the actress she’s replacing might not have died accidentally, after all.

One Response to “Plum Tuckered Out of Evanovich Readalikes?”
  1. Gerard Says:

    Lisa Lutz is a great public speaker.


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