Hair Raiser

Hair Raiser

4.5 2
by Nancy Cohen

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Not just your average South Florida beachcomber, Marla's now a volunteer for Ocean Guard, a coastal preservation group. She's even in charge of their upcoming Taste of the World fundraiser. But when chef Pierre Chevalier's flaming Bananas Foster results in a three-alarm fire, she can't help wondering: too much rum in the recipe-or sabotage?
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Not just your average South Florida beachcomber, Marla's now a volunteer for Ocean Guard, a coastal preservation group. She's even in charge of their upcoming Taste of the World fundraiser. But when chef Pierre Chevalier's flaming Bananas Foster results in a three-alarm fire, she can't help wondering: too much rum in the recipe-or sabotage?
Something is beginning to smell fishy in sunny Palm Haven, and it isn't just the polluted shoreline. But even Marla is stunned when Ocean Guard's attorney, Benjamin Kline, is murdered. Not that she was crazy about the guy-in fact, nobody was. The victim had his share of enemies, though Marla's old friend, the irritatingly appealing Detective Dalton Vail, is convinced the culprit was one of Ocean Guard's esteemed board members. Now he's counting on Marla to untangle the clues.
The suspects couldn't be more varied-or less likely-from likable businesswoman Babs Winrow to quiet, respectable banker Darren Shapiro. Even Digby Raines, the smarmy mayoral candidate himself, and creepy funeral director Stefano Barletti are on the ever-growing list. One of them snipped Ben Kline's life short, and Marla's determined to get to the root of a case that's anything but cut and dried. And with her own brush with death serving as a blunt reminder that a killer's still on the loose, Marla realizes that if she isn't careful, the next thing to wash up on the sand might not be mere medical waste... With her sassy style and flair for local color, Nancy J. Cohen has created another sleek page-turner that will leave readers eagerly awaiting their next appointment with the pert and plucky Marla.

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Editorial Reviews

Toby Bromberg
The mystery is great, the dialogue sparkling, and the sexual tension runs rampant in Hair Raiser. Nancy J.Cohen gives romance and mystery fans a heady concoction to savor.
Romantic Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An engaging, busy plot drives saucy beautician Marla Shore's second outing (after 1999's Permed to Death), set in Palm Haven, Fla. When Marla assembles 10 local chefs to cook for a gala benefit to save a pristine beach property from commercial development, the chefs start enthusiastically but nasty accidents soon cause them, one by one, to withdraw. Sabotage isn't out of the question, since the board members of Ocean Guard, the preservation group sponsoring the benefit, are all at each other's throats. When someone bludgeons the board's lawyer to death with a Samoan knife belonging to a banker on the board, Marla goes to the Bahamas to look for answers, taking malicious pranks and even murder attempts in stride with all the panache of a grown-up Nancy Drew. At times Cohen overwrites, especially when describing her characters' reactions ("Marla gazed into Babs's frantic hazel eyes and her mouth curved upward"; "His face wore its usual supercilious grin as he peered at her, hazel eyes raking her attire"), but there's no reason why a good editor can't curb such excesses in future Bad Hair Day episodes. Marla's romance with police detective Dalton Vail continues to thrive, and should be a major focus for fans in the next installment. A bold pink jacket perfectly complements the text. Agent, Linda Hyatt. (Dec. 5) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Widowed hairdresser Marla Shore (Permed to Death) takes charge of contacting chefs to cook for an important fundraiser sponsored by her wealthy cousin in Ft. Lauderdale. Unfortunately, someone tries to sabotage her efforts--or rather the fundraising event itself, the proceeds from which help preserve an oceanfront conservation property. Should the proceeds fall short, the property reverts to a mystery heir. When an ambitious, somewhat sleazy attorney on the fundraising board is murdered, Marla's cousin asks her to investigate. An easy-to-take series title with the ready appeal of an independent female sleuth and colorful Florida settings. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cohen's follow-up to Permed to Death (1999) is about as echt hamishe, and as distinctive, as Levittown; although she uses (or misuses) a Yiddish phrase every ten pages or so, the standard-issue plot and characters could have been shipped to Marla Shore's Fort Lauderdale from any gutsy-girl-who-pokes-her-nose-where-it doesn't-belong-and-gets-herself-into-trouble-and-romance classic. Marla's putting her life together by working as a hairdresser, having just escaped psychic ruin at the hands of her controlling ex-husband Stan. Someone (in this case, her wealthy cousin Cynthia) asks her to help with a fund—raiser (in this case, a Taste of the World cuisine event for the Ocean Guard, a South Florida environmental group). Bad things start happening to the chefs who volunteer. So Cynthia takes her to a board meeting to see whether anyone at Ocean Guard is doing anything to draw fire. There, she meets savvy businesswoman Babs Winrow, smarmy politician Digby Raines, arrogant surgeon Russ Taylor, respectable banker Darren Shapiro, malevolent funeral director Stefano Barletti, easygoing accountant David Newberg, and Ben Kline, a lawyer so abrasive that he's killed the next day. Naturally, Cynthia asks her to investigate, and naturally, sexy police detective Dalton Vail (whose very presence makes her blood sizzle) asks her not to. So, naturally, she does. Aside from almost getting killed, she learns benign secrets from everyone's past, identifies the murderer, and cuts and colors all the major characters' hair. If you crave a charismatic heroine with a touch of Yiddishkeit, skip this one and pray for Marissa Piesman's return.

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Product Details

Publication date:
Bad Hair Day Series
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.52(d)

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Hair Raiser 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
Beauty Salon where she also works as a stylist. Currently, Marla is preoccupied with the Taste of the World fundraiser sponsored by Ocean Guard, a preservation group concerned with the coastal environment. She serves as the liaison between the participating chefs in the event and the leaders of the sponsoring group. If this occasion succeeds, Ocean Guard will obtain ownership of the property next door to her friend's property. If the property is to remain a nature preserve, Ocean Guard must also donate $20,000 to a designated political lobby, hence the fundraiser.

Obtaining the property appears to be a snap until many of the chefs withdraw from the event. Marla thinks someone is trying to prevent the transfer of the property. Two organization members are murdered and biological waste washes ashore onto the property whose ownership appears in doubt. Marla begins making inquiries that will make her a key target of a determined killer.

HAIR RAISER is a delightfully funny yet stylized murder mystery that shows the talent of author Nancy J. Cohen to entertain her audience. The characters are easy to identify with, likable and realistic next-door neighbors. The brilliantly crafted mystery makes it extremely difficult to identify the villain until Ms. Cohen reveals whom the individual is. The second installment in the 'Bad Hair Day' series is a near perfect perm.

Harriet Klausner