killingcupidAin’t Talking About Love: Valentine’s Day Murder

Author: Laura Levine

With a waning checking account and a demanding, tuna loving kitty, Jaine has no choice but to take a job writing dating profiles for Dates of Joy, only to discover that her new boss is a taskmaster extraordinaire with a temper and a penchant for blackmailing. Joy Amoroso is making a lot of enemies with her false advertising, client book studded with professional models, and her ruinous rates. With a bevy of unsatisfied and insulted clients and disgruntled staff, it’s little surprise when at the Valentine’s party Joy snuffs it over a box of cyanide laced chocolates. There’s certainly no love lost among the surviving, until the police start investigating and Jaine, deleting an accidental “I hate my boss” email, is caught at the scene of the crime. Under investigation, Jaine decides to take matters in her own hands, only to regret the decision when the conniving killer makes a late night Ben and Jerry’s mission a near deadly experience.

Back in the saddle for some more frantic antics, Jaine is overwhelmed with an eccentric, cat obsessed older suitor and the boss from hell, attempting to ring in Cupid’s dismal holiday in style. Meanwhile, the lovable Lance is looking for a way to benefit from Jaine’s matchmaking connections. Once the murder occurs, Jaine has a bevy of dissatisfied clients and skulking suspects to suss out before the inept police department whisks her away. As usual, there might be some pit stops for snacks and some interruptions by her dear old dad, who thinks that he has finally got “Stinky Pinkus” in a compromising position.

The jokes continue to roll and the over-the-top situations increase as the plot thickens and Jaine attempts to keep her old suitor from a nervous breakdown, manage Lance’s escalating love life crises, and find the killer before she’s next. As usual, everyone has a motive and our favorite sleuth is the only person with enough moxy (and no issues with trespassing) to lead the investigation toward truth, justice, and mid-morning snacks. Jaine continues her self depreciatory humor, her interpretation of other’s thoughts, and her penchant to land in disastrous circumstances that keep the readers engaged, laughing, and above all glued to the turning pages.

Killing Cupid keeps up the seasonal theme by following the puffy cherubs of V-day bliss (or rageful murder as you will.) Valentine’s day, especially for singles such as Jaine, doesn’t tend toward as many cozy reflections as Halloween (Death of a Neighborhood Witch from the prior book), but the coziness that comes with Jaine’s life, her bubble baths and Chardonnay, dreams of the perfect man, and friendly barbs with my personal favorite, the effervescent Lance, give the entire novel the feel of slipping into a favorite robe for an evening’s reading. It was especially difficult, yet satisfying, to read this addition to the series since now I am caught up and will have to wait for the next release – a terrible feeling in a beloved series.

Although its past V-day by several months, Killing Cupid was an enjoyable summer read that made for a wonderful relaxation from grad school readings and three hundred page documents at work, providing an enjoyable escapade with a character who feels real to me and an atmospheric cozy world that I enjoy returning to. I’m already excited and anxious for the next novel in this, my favorite cozy mystery series. Highly recommended.

–          Frances Carden

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Frances Carden
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