Most residents of the small Missouri town Stella Hardesty calls home know her as the feisty, middle-aged owner of the local sewing shop. Few, however, know about her unusual, not-quite-legal side business, which involves roughing up the men who rough up their women. Things are going fine for Stella until Brandy shows up. She’s the scheming ex-wife of Sheriff “Goat” Jones, whom Stella was just starting to get cozy with. To make matters worse, a tornado blows through town and destroys the snack shack at the demolition derby track, pulling up the foundation and exposing a woman’s body that had been buried below. All signs point to Neb Donovan as the killer—he laid the foundation, and it’s no big secret that Neb was a different man during that time since he was still addicted to pain killers back then. But Stella knows Neb and can’t believe he’d hurt a fly, and his frantic wife begs Stella to investigate and clear her husband’s name. As usual, Stella is soon in way over her head and her own life might even be at stake.
I messed up and read this second book before its predecessor, Bad Day for Sorry, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of this story. Stella reminds me of an older, funnier, and tougher version of Stephanie Plum. And, okay, more hillbilly. I found the humor clever and the characters real, relatable, and loveable. Another advantage this book has over Evanovich is that there’s an actual mystery, with twists, turns, and surprises. The main reason I liked it, though, is that it reminded me of my own small hometown and it just cracked me up. I’ll definitely be ready the rest of the series, and I recommend it for anyone who likes Evanovich or other humorous mysteries.