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No Offense Intended

No Offense Intended

5.0 1
by Barbara Seranella

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Past loves and past mistakes come back to haunt Munch Mancini, and send her on a journey into her own dark history.

“Wonderful … You can’t help but take Munch Mancini – and this book – to heart.” — Michael Connelly, author of THE BLACK BOX

When her ex-lover comes to see her, Miranda "Munch" Mancini has mixed


Past loves and past mistakes come back to haunt Munch Mancini, and send her on a journey into her own dark history.

“Wonderful … You can’t help but take Munch Mancini – and this book – to heart.” — Michael Connelly, author of THE BLACK BOX

When her ex-lover comes to see her, Miranda "Munch" Mancini has mixed feelings. On one hand, he's a reminder of the past she has willingly let go to stay sober and rebuild her life. On the other hand, he's Sleaze Garillo, the father of the baby girl Munch is now raising. When Sleaze disappears, though, Munch can't help but get involved. The police don't see foul play, but Munch is the one with the knowledge-and the friends-to get to the truth behind Sleaze's suspicious disappearance.

To find him, she'll have to take an unwelcome trip down memory lane to visit people from her shady past. There's more at stake here than tracking down Sleaze: Munch must also protect the life she's built for herself, and for the little girl she now calls her own.

“Real cause for celebration… Seranella keeps the story moving at a brisk pace, with surprises around every corner.” — Chicago Tribune

“A splendid read. Bravo again for Barbara Seranella.” — T. Jefferson Parker, author of STORM RUNNERS

“A fast-paced neo-noir thriller.” — Los Angeles Times 

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
It sounds simple enough: Just pick up Sleaze John Garillo's baby Asia from the neighbor who's been watching her while Sleaze has been, uh, busy, and deliver her together with her baby gear to Sleaze's sister Lisa Slokum. But nothing is simple when you're a recovering alcohol-and-drug abuser on probation, like Venice car mechanic Munch Mancini, and nothing is simple when it involves Sleaze, who can't even make it through the day he turns up at Happy Jack's Auto Repair without getting himself shot on the freeway. Munch, on her way to check in with her probation officer in Santa Monica, just happens to drive past Sleaze's wrecked truck and pulls over, marking the first of two times she'll flee a crime scene. (She also ducks out of an autopsy she's sneaked into.) Caught between a drug-running sharpshooter who's firing ammunition stolen from a National Guard Armory and the FBI control freaks investigating the robbery, Munch ends up pairing off in a wary cat-and-mouse game not with saintly Lt. Mace St. John (No Human Involved, 1997), but with Homicide detective Jigsaw Blackstone, who's already in bed with the FBI, courtesy of the sexiest chess game since The Thomas Crown Affair. Things would look bleak for starchy Munch-if, that is, there were any serious doubt about who's behind the crime spree. Munch is still a great heroine, but this follow-up lacks the energy and originality that gave her debut such edgy promise. .

Product Details

Diversion Books
Publication date:
Munch Mancini Mysteries , #2
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

"No offense," the plumber began.
Munch sighed. Why did people always feel the need to warn you before they said something stupid? She looked up from the carburetor she was working on and gave the man in the stained overalls her full attention.
"But don't you think that working on cars is kinda, I don't know, unfeminine?"
She lifted out the float assembly on the quadrajet. "Yeah, I worry about it all the way to the bank. What kind of gas do you burn in this thing?"
"Whatever," he said. "Why?"
She shined her droplight into the float chamber. "You're full of shit here." She kept her face straight, knowing the double entendre would be lost on this Neanderthal. It was 1977, for God's sake. Didn't he realize that barefoot and pregnant went out with the sixties? "This is going to take at least a half a day," she said. "In fact, it would be better if you left it overnight." She looked over his shoulder and spotted Happy Jack, the owner of Happy Jack's Auto Repair. "Hey, Jack. You wanna write this guy up? He needs a carb overhaul."
Jack grabbed a clipboard and headed their way. "You got a visitor," he said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder. Her boss's expression told her that he didn't approve. She followed his gaze and understood why.
Munch's visitor leaned against the fender of a blue Chevy pickup. The truck was fairly new: a '74 model, perhaps even a '75. Sleaze was doing well, it seemed.
His mother had named him Jonathan Garillo, but on the street he was known as "Sleaze John." The last time she'd seen Sleaze was when he was driving for SunshineYellow Cab out of Venice. That was a year ago—in another life. Driving a cab had been just the vehicle for Sleaze's other various vocations: pulling cons on tourists, ripping off dopers trying to score, running numbers for bookies unwise enough to trust him.
"Thanks, Jack," she said, climbing down from the milk crate she stood on when she worked on trucks. "This won't take long."
Leaving Jack to write up the plumber, Munch made her way over to where Sleaze waited. The truck's idle stumbled as she drew closer. The bearded stranger in the passenger seat glanced at her briefly and then looked away. She stuck her grease rag in her back pocket and approached them warily.
"What do you want?" she said.
"What happened to hello?" he asked.
"Hello. What do you want?"
"You got a light?" A Cheshire cat grin stretched his full lips. He was clean-shaven and a brunette this week, which complemented his even white teeth and thickly lashed eyes. There was a time when she had thought him quite the fox.
She pulled out her lighter, automatically reaching for the pack of Camels in her shirt pocket.
With her lighter in his hand, he pointed to her cigarettes and, almost as an afterthought, asked her for a smoke.
Same old Sleaze. She shook her head, wondering what this visit would cost her.
He lit both their smokes and exhaled a "Thanks."
She caught his hand before her lighter disappeared into his pocket.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"I've missed you."
"Sleaze—" She glanced at the man riding shotgun, noting his long sleeves and dark sunglasses. A faded blue jail tattoo crossed the man's left jugular vein. She recognized the insignia of the Aryan Brotherhood: a pair of jagged lightning bolts that formed the letters SS. The man crossed his arms over his chest and rocked back and forth.
The truck's idle stuttered again and then resumed an even pace. "Hear that?" Sleaze asked. "What do you think that is?"
"If you want work done, you're going to have to leave it. I'm backed up right now," she said, aware of Jack hovering protectively just out of earshot.
"I'm in kind of a hurry, too," he said. He looked around, then dropped his voice. "Actually, I'm in a little bit of a jam."
Munch noticed that the gas cap of the truck was painted blue. She reached out and touched it. The surface was tacky. She leaned in the open window and saw the ignition wires dangling under the dash, their insulation stripped and two of them twisted together. The passenger moved a hand to his cheek and kept it there. The gesture was fine with her; she didn't want to remember him either. She pulled the rag from her back pocket and carefully wiped off all the surfaces she remembered touching.
"I don't want any part of this. I could get revoked for just talking to you."
"Since when did you pay attention to court orders?" he asked.
"Since I got a year suspended. I've changed, Sleaze. Don't mess this up for me."
He appraised her from under half-closed lids. "Yeah, I heard you got religion. I'm real proud of you. Are you happy?"
"Yes, of course." The words came out too quickly.
He raised an eyebrow, making him look a little like Clark Gable. Had he picked up the defensiveness in her tone?
"You look really good. I was going to say something."
She snorted. "Spare me. You want to do something nice for me? Just get out of my life." She kicked the tire of the truck. "And take this with you."
"Hey, don't be like that. We've got too much history."
"Forget it. It's like you said. History. What happened and what didn't happen was . . . for the best. Neither one of us wanted to be dragging a kid around." She looked at his face to confirm that this was the truth, but she couldn't read him.
"Aren't we at least friends?" he asked.
"I never had friends, Sleaze, just using partners." She looked pointedly at his travel companion.

What People are Saying About This

Michael Connelly
"No Offense Intended is really a wonderful book. Barbara Seranella has masterfully woven an intricate and fast-moving story around a set of fully drawn and engaging characters. You feel the truth in all of them. But the real truth and the real story here is Munch Mancini's noble struggle for survival in a harsh world. You can't help but take this woman--and this book--to heart."
T. Jefferson Parker
"A splendid read. It's a worthy successor to No Human Involved, and in some ways a richer and more satisfying book. Seranella's a wonderful guide. This story takes us into...the heart of Miranda Mancini--a recovering soul. Bravo again for Barbara Seranella."

Meet the Author

Barbara Seranella was born in Santa Monica, California, and grew up in Pacific Palisades. After a restless childhood that included running away from home at the age of fourteen, joining a hippie commune in the Haight, and riding with outlaw motorcycle clubs, she decided to settle down and do something normal—she became an auto mechanic. Barbara retired from wrenching in 1993. She is the author of Deadman’s Switch, No Human Involved, No Offense Intended, Unwanted Company, Unfinished Business, No Man Standing, Unpaid Dues, Unwilling Accomplice.

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No Offense Intended (Munch Mancini Series #2) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago