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    Review of THIS PEN FOR HIRE by Laura Levine


    Kensington, June 2002

    A love letter is a bit of a strange request, but Jaine Austen writes for hire so when Howard Murdoch asks for her help getting a date for Valentine's day and has his heart set on his beautiful aerobics instructor, Jaine writes the letter. That would have been the end of it, except Howard actually gets the date--only to find Stacy Lawrence bludgened to death with a thigh master. Now Howard is accused of murder and Jaine decides she's got to set things right. One thing she knows for sure--if Howard can't even ask Stacy for a date on his own, he certainly didn't kill her.

    Unfortunately, there were plenty of people who would have killed Stacy. Like many beautiful women in Los Angeles, Stacy was ambitious and didn't care who got in her way. She wasn't past blackmailing her lovers, stealing men from her friends, or using her influence to get the best apartment in the complex. Jaine finds plenty of men and women who are perfectly happy to have Stacy dead. But that doesn't mean they killed her. As Jaine starts to get threats to her own safety, she realizes that she'll have to find the real killer or she may end up the next victim.

    Author Laura Levine writes with a chatty and humorous style. Jaine is constantly losing the battle of will-power and indulging in the extra cheese on her buritto while simultaneously bemoning the size of her thighs. Levine's description of the competitive world of Los Angeles dating rings true, and a heroine who solves mysteries between writing toilet ads definitely has appeal.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 9/14/02

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