Customer Reviews for

Killed at the Whim of a Hat (Jimm Juree Series #1)

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  • Posted August 14, 2011

    Highly recommended

    This is a laugh-out-loud mystery novel! I liked it so much I've started to read the author's other books starting with "The Coroner's Lunch".

    It's sad when a reviwer hasn't even grasped what is going on in a book and trashes it. No, KenCady, the lead character is not a lesbian - she used this as an excuse to deflect romatic envolvement with a local man. The result is hilarious (I won't say anything more or else I'll spoil it for you guys).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    Charmed at the whim of a hat

    I don't think I've ever started a review this way, but I think I've just found a new author to search out previous books and a new series to follow.

    Colin Cotterill has introduced me to a great group of characters in <i>Killed at the Whim of a Hat</i>. There's crime reporter (actually more wanna-be than by-line type) Jimm Juree, who has moved from the big city, with her mother (who might be losing her marbles), her grandfather (an ex-cop who never made it beyond traffic cop because he wouldn't take bribes) and her body-building baby brother, to a small coastal town in the boonies of Southern Thailand. Left behind in the city is her transgendered, ex-beauty queen, now internet hacker brother-turned-sister.

    Jimm is quite bored and condescending about her new life, unsuccessfully running a ramshackle resort with her quirky family, walking the dogs, avoiding the locals and being thoroughly disgusted with the general state of things, until her interest is piqued by the discovery of a vintage VW bus with two skeletons found buried at a nearby palm oil plantation and the hushed up murder of a Buddhist abbot at a nearby monastery. Our crack reporter begins to investigate, teams up with a lovely gay local police detective, and begins to really meet the locals.

    An added bonus for me reading this book were the chapter header quotes, all taken word, by sweet little word, from actual speeches of George W. Bush. They were hilarious (and only moderately embarrassing in hindsite) but actually tied were into the story. (While working on her masters, Jimm was assigned the analysis of George Bush's oratory style, and learned that a 'sincere countenance and a confident stance were sufficient to distract your audience from the fact that you were talking rubbish'.) In fact, the title of the book springs from a GWB quote, but plays into the story as well.


    Received this AR copy via the kindness of LibraryThing and the Minotaur Books. This has been one of my favorite reads this year.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2011

    Flawed fun, worth reading

    The Book Report: Jimm Juree, female crime reporter/editrix in waiting, leaves heavily urban and crime-ridden Chiang Mai, Thailand (ideal for her chosen trade, eh?), when her scatty, pre-dementia-sufferer mother (called "Mair" which means Mama throughout the book) decides to sell the family home and family shop and buy a ghastly little hole-in-the-wall "resort" in Thailand's Deep South...with all the freight that phrase implies in English fully intact here. With Mair and Jimm go Arny, the youngest of the family, a cliff of muscle and a mass of insecurities, as well as Granddad Jah, father of Mair and forty-year veteran of the Thai police whose inability to take bribes stalled his career at the level of Corporal.

    Gettin' the set-up here? Mass of misfits go to be, collectively, fish out of water on the hot, humid Gulf of Siam coast. And what happens? As soon as the family gets there, Jimm gets involved in a weird discovery: Two skeletons in an ancient VW Kombi discovered at the bottom of a well-pit. What gives? We follow Jimm as she makes friends (sort of) with the local constabulary in pursuit of information on the who, what, when, how, and why of this utterly strange killing...murder...accidental death...suicide...? Who knows? But the editor Jimm so wanted to replace as soon as he dies buys the story.

    Yay, right? Well...then comes a grisly horrible scary murder of an abbot sent from Buddhist HQ to investigate the possible salacious goins-on of the local abbot and his resident nun. Turns out they knew each other well in former lives...and someone is sure they're doin' the nasty even now, many many years later. When the HQ abbot turns up hideously slain, there is a curious radio silence...no news leaks...but Jimm, being steps away from the crime scene, hears all and sees much. She, with help from flaming queen Lieutenant Chompu, Granddad Jah, and a selection of interviewees at varying levels of helpfulness and relevance, puts all the pieces together. The guilty are, well, guilty, and known to be so; the ending is a bit of a let-down on some points. But end it does, and no one can not know justice is meant to be served.

    My Review: This book and I have A History. The first copy I got was *shudder* bug-infested *shudder*, and was summarily heaved into the trash for the crime. So was I willing to cut the beginning of the book, which contains some unpleasant slights to the transgendered community, any slack? Why no! I was not! I was even ready to give up and just not review it, since I hate to be nasty to authors who have spent blood, sweat, and tears on creating something to amuse thee and me. Seems churlish somehow.

    Then came p349. I won't tell you what happens there. Suffice to know that the whole reason I was reading the book, ill temper and all, snapped into focus for me. I was left a little hollow by that stuffing-knocking-out. I was so very glad I'd kept going. It made a lot of things that ticked me off fall into perspective. It could for you, too...but, in the end, it's the characters that will make or break this book for readers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Marketing works! I saw this book on a shelf next to the latest N

    Marketing works! I saw this book on a shelf next to the latest Number One Ladies Detective Agency novel. The cover has the same style of border and a central image reminiscent of earlier books in the series. The label on the shelf said “If you like… then you will enjoy…” So my husband bought the book for me for Mothers’ Day.

    Colin Cotterill is not Alexander McCall Smith, and Killed at the Whim of a Hat has a very different feel to the Number One Ladies Detective Agency Novels. It’s much sharper and more harshly critical of the society where it’s set. The protagonist, Jimm Juree, is much more antagonistic. The writing has a harder edge and more biting tone. And the storyline makes you read faster—though the novel’s just as long and there are really only two mysteries to be solved. Vivid words and descriptions sweat as the bike-pedals turn in the heat of a less gentle land.

    But things change. Both author and character soften their tone as the story progresses. Jimm Juree learns to value her family for themselves rather than just for duty. She warms to the out-of-the-way locale as the reader warms to her determined rebellion. And the end result is the beginning of what looks like a pleasing, and pleasingly different, mystery series.

    Edgy characters include an oddly effeminate cop, a sister who used to be a brother, a sensitive giant, and, of course, a suitable handful of villains out to make money from everyone. This is Thailand, with all its big-city corruption and small-town graft, with history and future… and with headline quotes from George W Bush? But, of course, it’s Bush who first said “at the whim of a hat,” and every quote is perfectly suited to the chapter it introduces—even to the tale when questions are asked and Jimm learns to use that “sincere countenance and confident stance” to best effect.

    I’m not entirely sure what I expected in this book, and the beginning felt slow, or overly angry. But I’m hooked by the end and hoping my husband might be tempted to buy me more.

    Disclosure: I got this book as a gift for Mothers’ Day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    Life is too short---

    Life is too short for such a boring book. I looked forward with so much anticipation to reading this and it is just blah. Make that a whiny blah!

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  • Posted August 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Killed For Whatever Reason

    This novel employs some cute turns, but it is essentially an odd murder mystery of so little interest that I had to force myself through the last 40 pages. Usually those are the most interesting ones, but here I was just worn out. In short, the book is a bore. I usually like murder mysteries, and the Thai background sure was a draw. I should have considered the Caucasian author. I don't think he was able to make full use of the Thai background. He attempted to make the characters interesting. For example, the lead is a lesbian, but she has no life that in any way relates to that. Her one brother is a transsexual, the other an odd bodybuilder. None of these descriptions had much merit to the story, but just seemed ploys to dress things up a bit. You can skip this one.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 5, 2011

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    Posted September 20, 2011

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    Posted October 11, 2014

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    Posted September 8, 2012

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