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by Jennifer Apodaca
Kensington Books, May 2003
275 pages
ISBN: 0758200757

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Sam Shaw was a pretty darn good soccer mom and a PTA organizer extraordinaire. It was only after her husband died that she discovered he was a louse. Not only was he very publicly philandering with all and sundry, he left Sam and their two boys with nothing in the bank account and a load of debt.

But Sam is nothing if not resilient and she bounces back: sells the house and moves in with her grandpa, uses the insurance money to buy a little business, sells The Louse's classic Mustang to provide herself with a personal makeover. A year later, however, things don't seem to be working out quite yet. The business - a dating service - is barely limping along, the IRS is making threatening noises, and Sam's mom is nagging her to get into real estate instead. And then, a customer interview turns scary as the "customer" threatens her life and her kids, then hits her with a stun gun and leaves a note -

written in permanent marker on her skin and clothes - as to where and when to deliver the money. The money? What money?

This story moves along nicely; there are a few clumsy bits in the plot, but they don't stick out enough to be a bother, and it hangs together well enough to keep you guessing. The characters are the real strength; Sam, her kids, her mom and grandpa, the men in her life, are all well drawn and entertaining. It's sexy in places without losing the thread of the tale, and there's a sort of cheerful irony to the narration that I found quite engaging. Good read, just right for summer.

Reviewed by Diana Sandberg, May 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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