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by Lori Avocato
Avon, October 2004
320 pages
ISBN: 0060731656

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Thirty-something nurse Pauline Sokol is suffering from career burnout and she wants out. If she has to stick another thermometer in another child she is going to scream. She can't take it anymore and decides to quit not knowing where her next paycheck will be coming from.

She is lucky to have a successful roommate who is filled with connections up the wazoo and is willing to help her find her way. He manages to get her the perfect job -- an insurance fraud investigator and her first case? Find evidence against a former nursing classmate that she is faking a back injury.

Oh, yeah. She also gets to work undercover as a nurse and gets involved in a case that is bigger than she could ever handle. Will she be able to pull herself together or will she need to find someone to bail her out? Only one way to tell you . . . well, two. I could tell you what happens or you can pick up a copy of Lori Avocato's debut comedic novel, A DOSE OF MURDER.

Unfortunately, that is as far as it goes. It is hard to see how this book can progress into a series and give a future to Pauline Sokol. The characters and their portrayals are too similar to those of best-selling author Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter series. Almost every character in Avocato's book has a similar counterpart in Evanovich's long-running series and it is not funny. The only major difference that is noticeable is that Pauline has a master's degree while Stephanie does not.

Newcomers to mystery novels might not notice this but veteran readers will notice the similarities one-third through the book. It is hard to take this book seriously. Consider yourselves warned.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, February 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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