Sticky Fingers

Sticky Fingers

3.1 16
by Nancy Martin
     
 

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Roxy Abruzzo has to be careful to stay one step ahead of trouble—especially now that a limited cash flow has her collecting debts for her uncle Carmine, one of the last old-time Mob bosses in Pittsburgh. With her daughter's college tuition to pay, Roxy can almost convince herself that the jobs aren't illegal.

But when Carmine's consigliere offers Roxy a

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Overview

Roxy Abruzzo has to be careful to stay one step ahead of trouble—especially now that a limited cash flow has her collecting debts for her uncle Carmine, one of the last old-time Mob bosses in Pittsburgh. With her daughter's college tuition to pay, Roxy can almost convince herself that the jobs aren't illegal.

But when Carmine's consigliere offers Roxy a contract to kidnap someone, that's one line she won't cross. Trouble is that when the kidnapping victim turns up murdered, Roxy's number one on the police hit parade. To protect herself, she investigates and soon learns the victim had a big secret—or two.

Add a rock singer, a pesky paleontologist, and a sexy chef with a taste for whatever Roxy dishes up, and you've got a caper full of laugh-out-loud mayhem. Peppered with one-liners, Sticky Fingers—the second Roxy Abruzzo mystery—is even tastier than the first.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Guaranteed to delight tough girls and tough-girl fans everywhere.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Martin's wacky second Roxy Abruzzo mystery improves on the excellent first entry.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Publishers Weekly
Martin's wacky second Roxy Abruzzo mystery improves on the excellent first entry, 2010's Our Lady of Immaculate Deception (retitled for reprint Foxy Roxy). A few days after Roxy—architectural salvage expert, singer, and recovering sex addict—turns down an offer on behalf of her imprisoned mobster uncle, Carmine Abruzzo, to kidnap snooty museum curator Clarice Crabtree, a former high school classmate of hers, Det. Bug Duffy of the Pittsburgh police takes her to a crime scene at an old industrial site. Bug shows her a body recovered from the Ohio River that Roxy identifies as Clarice. Curious to find out who popped Clarice, Roxy rolls into action accompanied by her lovable sidekick, Nooch Santonucci, a big lug with a heart of gold, and her pooch, Rooney. Roxy's evolving relationships with Sage, her rapidly maturing teenage daughter, and with Sage's chef dad, Patrick Flynn, give this series an extra heart-tugging zing. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Her demo and salvage business suffering in the economic downturn, Roxy Abruzzo (Foxy Roxy) has done a few other jobs, like collecting overdue gambling losses for her Uncle Carmine, an imprisoned mob boss. When he asks her to kidnap a woman, Roxy refuses but finds herself the number one suspect when the woman is murdered. Martin, author of the wacky "Blackbird Sisters" series, has come up with another eccentric crew running wild, this time in Pittsburgh. Roxy, who is trying to set a good example for her teenage daughter, has given up her promiscuous ways but can't seem to shed her tendency to get into trouble. VERDICT Martin is a good choice for those who have read all of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and want to try something new. [Library marketing; regional author tour.]
Kirkus Reviews - Kikus Reviews
An architectural salvager discovers that the real trash can be found among Pittsburgh's intellectual elite.

When times are tough in the salvage business, Roxy Abruzzo (Our Lady of Immaculate Deception,2010, etc.) isn't above taking on odd jobs for her mobbed-up uncle Carmine. But there are some jobs that are just too odd for Roxy, and kidnapping her old schoolmate Clarice Crabtree is one of them. Not that Clarice wasn't a pain even in high school, where she rubbed Roxy's nose in her working-class roots. But now that she's a museum curator who specializes in megafauna, Clarice is an insufferable snob who brushes off Roxy's attempts to warn her about the kidnap threat. When a rug containing Clarice's corpse turns up in an abandoned field, Roxy sheds no tears. But her old friend Bug Duffy, now a police detective, thinks Roxy knows more than she's telling. Besides, Roxy has promised herself to be a better role model for her teenaged daughter Sage. So she bundles her cousin Nooch and her mutt Rooney into her truck to check out Clarice's digs, where she finds two grieving widowers: the sire to Richie, Clarice's budding fashion-designer son, and the adopted father of her China-born daughter, Olympic skating hopeful Sugar. Now Clarice has to evade Bug's sharp questions—as well as some softer advances from Sage's father Flynn, her old flame—while figuring out who had it in for a multiply-married lady.

Guaranteed to delight tough girls and tough-girl fans everywhere.

Kirkus Reviews
An architectural salvager discovers that the real trash can be found among Pittsburgh's intellectual elite.

When times are tough in the salvage business, Roxy Abruzzo (Our Lady of Immaculate Deception,2010, etc.) isn't above taking on odd jobs for her mobbed-up uncle Carmine. But there are some jobs that are just too odd for Roxy, and kidnapping her old schoolmate Clarice Crabtree is one of them. Not that Clarice wasn't a pain even in high school, where she rubbed Roxy's nose in her working-class roots. But now that she's a museum curator who specializes in megafauna, Clarice is an insufferable snob who brushes off Roxy's attempts to warn her about the kidnap threat. When a rug containing Clarice's corpse turns up in an abandoned field, Roxy sheds no tears. But her old friend Bug Duffy, now a police detective, thinks Roxy knows more than she's telling. Besides, Roxy has promised herself to be a better role model for her teenaged daughter Sage. So she bundles her cousin Nooch and her mutt Rooney into her truck to check out Clarice's digs, where she finds two grieving widowers: the sire to Richie, Clarice's budding fashion-designer son, and the adopted father of her China-born daughter, Olympic skating hopeful Sugar. Now Clarice has to evade Bug's sharp questions—as well as some softer advances from Sage's father Flynn, her old flame—while figuring out who had it in for a multiply-married lady.

Guaranteed to delight tough girls and tough-girl fans everywhere.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250001658
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
02/14/2012
Series:
Roxy Abruzzo Series, #2
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
744,018
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

1
 
The first thing I noticed as I was sitting in a squad car was that police cruisers don’t have seatbelts in the back. Me, I’m used to traveling through life without a seatbelt. I’m a no-retraints kinda girl. But today my wrists were in handcuffs so tight I felt like a Christmas turkey, and I planned on bringing up the issue with my arresting officer.
Trouble was, Detective Duffy was already plenty ticked off at me. Behind the wheel, he snapped his cell phone shut, turned around, and said through the screen, “Roxy, behave yourself. I gotta take a detour.”
“What? You gonna show me all the romantic sights of Pittsburgh before you book me?”
“Shut up,” he said. “Or I’ll drop you in the river.”
I’d met Bug Duffy years after he earned his nickname eating crickets on the playground of St. Raphael Elementary. He’d been a year ahead of me in high school, when we’d both done time wearing our respective Catholic school uniforms. Back then, he was vice president of his class, and I was a member of an unofficial club called Future Delinquents of America. Things hadn’t changed much.
He made a U-turn in front of a convenience store and cut down through the North Side—a maze of cobblestoned streets lined with boarded-up storefronts and magnificent old houses either crumbling to bits or under rehab by hopeful do-it-yourselfers. A pair of stone-faced teenagers melted back from the curb at the sight of the cop car. On the next block a young woman in a ponytail and expensive sneakers briskly jogged behind a high-tech baby carriage. Funny thing was, I knew the teenagers, not the mom.
In a few minutes, we were bumping along a deserted stretch of road that ran parallel to the Ohio River. It wasn’t exactly scenic there, and like most old Pittsburgh industrial sites, the ground probably hadn’t passed an EPA inspection even back in the day when bribes made a difference.
A river patrol boat bobbed offshore with its crew leaning on the rail to watch. A tug cruised past, engine low, pushing six empty barges, going downriver fast. On the shoreline, a couple of crime-scene guys stood hunched against the November wind, hands in their pockets, looking down at a sodden, rolled-up carpet that had clearly just floated up on the river.
A police photographer snapped pictures of it.
Bug shut off the patrol car’s engine, got out, and came around to the rear door. He pulled me out and unlocked the cuffs. He was just about my height, and I could have kicked him in the nuts and made a break for it, but he gave me a look and said, “What do you bet this is her?”
I saw what he meant and said, “Oh, shit.”
We walked across a stubbly field that had once been a steel mill, and he said hello to the crime-scene guys. I looked at the foot sticking out of one end of the carpet—a woman’s bare foot with a pink pedicure. I felt the wind bite through the layers of my sweatshirts, but the cold wasn’t the reason I suddenly had to clench my teeth to keep them from chattering.
Bug hunkered down over the carpet and used a pocketknife to cut the twine. Somebody had tied it with Boy Scout precision—little loops and knots every twelve inches or so. Like a rolled steak braciole, I thought. Bug handed the twine to one of the techs, who put it into a plastic bag. Then Bug unrolled the rug—a lot more gently than he’d handled me.
“This her?” Bug looked up at me when the gray, flattened face came into view.
“That’s Clarice,” I said, although I hardly recognized my own voice.
Clarice Crabtree had been shot a couple of times in the head—not the way you’d expect a distinguished museum curator to die. She probably never broke a sweat doing her work—but it was work that a lot of people seemed to think was valuable. In the last second of her life, I bet she’d been surprised to feel the barrel of a gun against her skull.
As I looked at Clarice, my own mother’s death swam up in my head. I tried to shove it down into the blackness where all bad memories belong. But it was the sight of Clarice’s ear—the one that was now missing a sedate gold earring, the mate of the one that remained clipped to her other lobe—that took me fast into a shadowy kitchen with blood on the floor next to a dead or dying woman whose earring—not gold, but a cheap one–had been torn from her by a glancing fist. I had hidden in another room while my parents shouted. While he beat her. As he killed her. A day later, while packing up some clothes and books for foster care, I’d found the missing earring embedded in a loaf of moldy bread on the kitchen counter.
I doubted Clarice Crabtree’s kids ate moldy bread.
Still kneeling, Bug said, “I don’t like that look on your face, Roxy.”
Too late, I wiped away all expression and turned away, shaking and sick.
Bug said something to the techs, then came over and put one hand on my shoulder. “Don’t even think about it.”
I pushed his hand away. “About what?”
“Doing something about this on your own.”
I said, “She has two kids.”
He sighed. “Oh, hell. Look, I know how you get about mothers and kids, but this is my case now, Rox. I don’t want to be tripping over you for weeks while I figure out who killed this lady.”
“I won’t get in your way.”
“Better not,” he said.

 
Copyright © 2011 by Nancy Martin

Meet the Author

Nancy Martin, winner of the Lifetime Achievement award for mystery writing from RT Book Reviews, is also the author of the bestselling Blackbird Sisters mysteries. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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