A Bad Day for Pretty is the sequel to A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield. Susan Wiggs, my favorite author, was an early fan of Ms. Littlefield’s. She loved the cover of A Bad Day for Sorry which is now out in paperback:
Ms. Wiggs’ review of the sequel is accurate:
Stella Hardesty is back to kicking ass and taking names in A Bad Day for Pretty. She’s funny, profane, brave passionate, and honest in this new story of crime and punishment in rural Missouri.
If you can’t wait for Janet Evanovich’s Sizzling Sixteen to be released on June 22, Ms. Littlefield’s Bad Day series will make your day at the beach. If Stephanie Plum had an aunt living in the Show Me State, it would be Stella Hardesty. Stella’s a younger version of Grandma Mazur and gets herself into as much trouble.
Stella and her new side-kick Chrissy Shaw are survivors of domestic violence. A Bad Day for Pretty opens with a PTSD flashback to the day a tornado took out Stella’s beloved uncle. Stella and Chrissy are still recovering from the wounds sustained in a tussle with the Mob at the end of A Bad Day for Sorry.
The pair, however, find themselves lusting after new men. Stella has the hots for Sheriff Goat Jones, and Chrissy charms the pants off a computer geek named Larry Klipsinger. He teaches her how to become a computer hacker.
Goat’s estranged wife Brandy Truax blows back into his life like the tornado that’s brewing outside, and she creates the same level of chaos and destruction.
The tornado uproots the snack shack on the county fairgrounds revealing the mummified body of a blond. Neb Donovan, a husband rehabilitated from his wife-beating ways by Stella, is the prime suspect. He was addicted to OxyContin, a hillbilly’s heroin.
There are so many whacky plot twists loaded with humor and romance that I forgot the book is a who-done-it until the identity of the killer is revealed at the end. The clue was so subtle that I missed it entirely ~ my favorite kind of mystery.
The mystery within the mystery is which woman in the trio making eyes at Goat will capture his heart. He and Stella are the “yin and yang of holistic justice.” He thought he was divorced from Brandy. And, ambitious co-worker Daphne Simmons is sexually harassing him. He unloads his frustration over dessert:
“No, Stella, I ain’t got any problems with women, except for the fact that all of you chose the same damn moment to visit all manner of tortue on me.”
. . .”We were having a perfectly nice dinner. . .Least I thought we were ~ and then you go storming outta there like ~ like I tried to feed you cat food or something and then Brandy ~ hell, that woman can make me crazy in a New York minute and why she’s moved her ass into my house, when last I heard she hates my guts ~ well, that’s a mystery right there, and then I got Daphne Simmons across the conference table telling us how the team’s gonna do this and we’re gonna do that and all of a sudden her hand’s on my knee squeezing like she thinks I got the evidence [of murder] stashed in my pants ~ ”
I laughed out loud and found myself highlighting passages about domestic violence that were thought-provoking. A Bad Day for Pretty is a great read.