The Barnes & Noble Review
The sixth installment of Elaine Viets's Dead-End Job saga -- which features lovable protagonist Helen Hawthorne, a successful career woman on the run from an irate ex-husband and an unfair legal system -- puts the hardworking heroine in her newest minimum wage job: a hotel maid.
Sybil's Full Moon Hotel in Fort Lauderdale seems like the perfect place to work for Hawthorne, who is desperately trying to keep a low profile from her lowlife ex, Ron, whom she owes thousands of dollars in alimony. But when a coworker is found murdered in the dumpster, the local police converge on the hotel -- and Helen -- and to make matters worse, her ex-husband shows up and rents a room!
Mystery fans who enjoy lighthearted literary hijinks -- books by authors like Janet Evanovich and Madelyn Alt, for example -- should definitely give Viets's Dead-End Job saga (Murder Unleashed, Just Murdered, et al.) a try. A word of warning: Viets took the research for this novel very seriously and interviewed numerous members of hotel housekeeping staffs before writing the book. The reality of working as a hotel maid is portrayed with incredible authenticity and is at times downright stomach-churning. Whoever reads Murder with Reservations will find it nearly impossible to ever sleep on a hotel bedspread again -- and don't even think about drinking the coffee... Paul Goat Allen
Yuppie-turned-menial-job-hunter Helen Hawthorne, still on the run from her deadbeat ex-husband, is keeping a low profile with backbreaking work as a maid at Sybil's Full Moon Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in Viets's humorous and socially conscious sixth whodunit (after 2006's Murder Unleashed). Helen's sister warns her that her ex, Rob, is hot on her trail, determined to hunt her down and claim his settlement money, but the heads-up doesn't alleviate Helen's fear and anger when she spies Rob checking in at her place of employment. Her postmarital troubles soon take a backseat to the main mystery, though: six months earlier, a bank robber checked into the Full Moon and supposedly stashed his loot ($100,000) somewhere on the premises before he was killed in a shootout. Helen's co-worker Rhonda goes missing, and a new cleaning guy shows up who's a little too cute to be true before Viets ties it all together for some rollicking fun and felony tempered with a dash of Nickel and Dimed. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The murder of a coworker threatens to expose a hotel maid hiding from her greedy ex. When an idiot family-court judge awards half of corporate exec Helen Hawthorne's assets to her philandering husband Rob, she ducks under the radar with a succession of low-pay, no-paper-trail jobs-store clerk, dog groomer and now maid at Sybil's Full Moon Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. And as if cleaning whipped cream out of the Jacuzzi in the honeymoon suite weren't gross enough, Helen pokes her nose into the hotel's evil-smelling dumpster and finds the body of fellow scrubber Rhonda Dournell, who'd hoped to escape her dreary life with the help of a well-heeled boyfriend. When hard-nosed Detective Bill Mulruney grills maids Helen, Denise and Cheryl, and front desk clerk Sondra, Helen knows it won't be long before Rob-who's already called her old boss at the bridal shop posing as a lawyer with a million-dollar inheritance-catches a glimpse of her on TV. Her new boyfriend Phil urges her to stop hiding and fight Rob in court while neighbors Margery and Peggy deflect Rob as he snoops around the Coronado, Helen's low-budget digs. But Helen knows she's treading water, especially when a second killing launches Mulruney's probe into overdrive. Brave Viets (Murder Unleashed, 2006, etc.) preps by actually working the jobs she describes in loving and hilarious detail, giving her offbeat series a healthy balance between the banal and the bizarre. Agent: David Hendin/DH Literary