One of my most favorite songs to “sing” at Karaoke bars (I’ll spare you the YouTube video) is “Earl Had to Die.” I just love the concept of ballsy women delivering home-style justice to wife-beating husbands. That must be why I snatched up A Bad Day for Sorry the second after I read the prologue:
Whuppin’ ass wasn’t so hard, Stella Hardesty thought as she took aim with the little Raven .25 she took off a cheating son-of-a-bitch in Kansas City last month. What was hard was making sure it stayed whupped. Especially on a day when it hit a hundred degrees before noon. And you were having hot flashes.
So begins Sophie Littlefield’s first mystery in a series about a rural Missouri sewing shop owner who moonlights as a balls-to-the-wall bounty hunter of sorts for bullying husbands. Ever since she snuffed out her abusive husband with a wrench on her 50th birthday, she swore her days of being a victim were over. Without a husband or a relationship with her daughter, who decided to shack up with losers just like her dad, Stella fills the empty void by preventing other women from suffering the same fate.
The mystery unfolds when Chrissy Shaw begs Stella to help her find her redneck ex-husband, Roy Dean, who skipped town with her two-year-old son. Hot on the trail, Stella discovers the case of the missing wife beater might not be as simple as it looks. She realizes she may be in over her head when she learns of Roy’s involvement with the mob and a chop shop ring. Unable to shield Chrissy from the ugly truth, Stella teams up with the young mother who – despite her ditzy demeaner – proved to be a fearless sidekick. Sassy, brave and funny as hell, the unlikely duo make a great Thelma and Louise-esque team. On a quest to find the child, the two women are willing to face danger head-on. Not even a sadistic mob boss who dismembers his own men and throws their body parts in a burn barrel will stand in their way!
With an eccentric cast of complex characters and a hard-boiled mystery plot, this book is a departure from your typical chick lit/cozy mystery. Unlike any other leading lady – who are commonly young, leggy, slim and fashionably chic – Stella is no looker. She’s middle-aged, pudgy and unapologetically rough around the edges. After being treated like a second-class citizen in a long, painful (literally!) marriage, she decided to give up on love altogether. But when the handsome local sherriff shows an interest in more than just her vigilante side gig, she begins to wonder if maybe, just maybe, there’s hope after all. As in most mystery series (*cough* Ranger and Morelli), both are too neurotic and stubborn to act on their desires. But that’s what keeps us reading! This exciting debut is undoubtedly the start of a very compelling series!