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by Denise Weeks
Dark Oak, July 2012
356 pages
ISBN: 1610090403

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

No one was more surprised than Jacquidon Carroll when her boss, Yancy Neisskopf, told her that she was no longer needed at CSD Enterprises. Jacquidon had put in long hours there and had never had any bad reviews and yet she was now being let go. It was even more upsetting to be escorted out of the building by Louie, the security guard who used to ask her out. She made a scene as she left letting everyone know how she felt. Then, while having a comforting lunch with her sister Chantal, the sisters see Yancy and a few others who work at CSD. A minor argument between Jacquidon and her former co-workers breaks out.

Jacquidon returns home and before too long receives a phone call from a friend at the office who tells her that Yancy has been murdered and the prime suspect is Jacquidon herself! The boss who fired drank juice that had been tampered with and the police are sure that Jacquidon poisoned the drink. Jacquidon knows that she'd better figure out who murdered Yancy before she's arrested.

NICE WORK by Denise Weeks starts out strong. The reader is pulled into the story from page one. The author does a great job in bringing out events and feelings that many readers are familiar with; being fired for no reason, with nowhere to turn, no help in sight, suddenly being ignored by your ex-co-workers whom you once considered friends. With all this bad news, it's no surprise that it's a struggle for Jacquidon to control her diabetes.

But then, Jacquidon seems interested more in her job counsellor than who's framing her for her boss's death and the book starts to go downhill. Sometimes her motivations seem unclear. When she is attacked by her former work-mates at her boss's funeral, why doesn't she just yell back at her old friends instead of allowing them to get the better of her? Since she's innocent why is she afraid of them? Better yet, why even go to the funeral to begin with? Why does she feel so much loyalty to the office by worrying about some reports and files she had and feels she should return? When the funeral scene started I was angry at the office workers but by the end of that chapter I was angry with Jacquidon.

As the story continues the reader is brought behind the scenes of a sex club that Yancy and some of the workers belonged to. Jacquidon and her sister dress up so they can check out the club trying to find information. Here again, one has to wonder what they imagine they are doing.

Meanwhile, the police are constantly questioning Jacquidon but her mind is more on the job counselor, going on job interviews, and day dreaming. Her mother keeps asking what the problem is but neither Jacquidon nor her sister tell her the truth. The police are after her for murder and she doesn't want to tell her mother?

In the middle of the action the reader suddenly gets a lecture about grammar, vocabulary, diabetes, and a spelling bee. A spelling bee? Granted, Weeks knows her grammar and obviously knows a lot about spelling bees and the rules but who cares? Get on with the story. When the author does, the reader really gets involved but when we're suddenly in the middle of a grammar lesson, well, it's easy to skip some of those pages.

While this might not have been one of my favorite books, it does have its strengths. There are lots of various characters and the sex club plot line is an interesting twist. but the ending was a bit too obvious.

Don't ignore the book especially if you like chick-lit with a nice murder mystery but if you're not a fan of cute romances maybe NICE WORK isn't quite for you.

Sharon Katz has been reviewing books for RTE for many years. She lives in Brooklyn.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, September 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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