Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shoulder Bags and Shootings Review

Shoulder Bags and Shootings (Haley Randolph Mysteries)
From Booklist:  Haley Randolph, the fashion shopaholic obsessed with designer purses, is back for her third adventure. She has just returned from a European vacation with her boyfriend, Ty Cameron, who happens to own Holt's Department Store, where Haley is ostensibly employed. With Ty obligated to remain in Europe, Haley returns to work and college in Los Angeles. The first morning back, she discovers a body in the trunk of her borrowed car, which belongs to Ty's grandmother. So once again Haley is a suspect in a murder case and is forced to turn investigator. Equally important, at least to Haley, are several other matters: she must avoid doing any work at Holt's; she must find new reasons to skip classes; and she simply must get her hands on one of those newly released Sinful handbags. Despite her ditzy persona, Haley has good detecting instincts. There might also be hope for her personal relationships, as she begins to realize that couples need to talk and listen to each other. Recommend this series to fans of lightweight, humorous mysteries with more than a touch of romance. --Judy Coon 

My Take: Haley is a shallow, bubble-headed spoiled girl who believes the world revolves around her.  Although irritating, this was endearing and provided entertainment.  The character shows no personal growth but, again, that wasn't so terrible.  In fact, I found her tactics for avoiding the customer while on the clock ingenious.

Besides Haley, however, there are a myriad of characters that I simply couldn't keep straight and lacked any depth at all.  Even compared to Haley.  In fact, too many characters that had a past with Haley but little interaction with her. My big complaint is that so much of the book seems to be an indirect marketing tool for previous books.  When a new character is introduced, a previous crime is alluded to but never quite explained and I'm left wondering if it is pertinent to the current mystery.  In fact, when the character makes a second or third appearance in the current book, the previous criminal involvement (or victimization) is voiced yet again.  I found it distracting and never really warmed to the peripheral characters.

I enjoyed the ease of read.  Fun, shallow Haley who cares nothing for anybody but herself and how she looks.  She never changes, never grows, and continues to entertain me.  Writing style was consistent.  Story line unrealistic but enjoyable.  Too much reference to previous books and not enough character development for other players.

3 and half stars

I received a copy of Shoulder Bags and Shootings from FSB Associates for review.

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