Unfinished Business (Munch Mancini Series #4)

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Overview

Unforgettable sleuth Munch Mancini is back for more! The recovering addict, ex-prostitute, ex-con, and auto-mechanic Renaissance woman who starred in Unwanted Company and No Offense Intended returns for another round. Just as she thinks she's finally going to get her life back to normal, Munch finds herself in the thick of another deadly mystery -- and she has to fight her way out in Unfinished Business.
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Overview

Unforgettable sleuth Munch Mancini is back for more! The recovering addict, ex-prostitute, ex-con, and auto-mechanic Renaissance woman who starred in Unwanted Company and No Offense Intended returns for another round. Just as she thinks she's finally going to get her life back to normal, Munch finds herself in the thick of another deadly mystery -- and she has to fight her way out in Unfinished Business.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Seranella's lady mechanic is back fixing cars and catching criminals in this fourth Munch Mancini crime novel (Unwanted Company, etc.), featuring the spunky auto-repair gal and her sidekick, Det. Mace St. John. In mid-'80s L.A., Munch, mechanic to the rich and famous, is distraught when a customer, philanthropic socialite Diane Bergman, is found dead on the side of the freeway, dressed in a negligee with electrocution marks on her body. The details of Diane's murder resemble a rape case Mace has been investigating for a few months; when he discovers that a third case suggests the same modus operandi and that the victim, Robin Davies, is also a customer at Munch's garage, the mechanic and the cop join forces once again. Along with her friend D.W. from the Meals-on-Wheels program, Munch tries to comfort Robin, who has not left her home since being raped. As soon as Robin begins to accept support, Munch starts getting threatening phone calls from the rapist, who knows too much about her life and the routine she follows with her seven-year-old adopted daughter, Asia. Robin disappears, Mace has a heart attack and suddenly Munch is left alone to catch the bad guy. More threats to Munch and her daughter follow, to everyone's dismay, yet the reader feels little trepidation. A cast of one-dimensional secondary characters take their places as stock suspects until the perpetrator's identity is revealed with little clue as to a motive. All flaws considered, Munch is a likable protagonist, and Seranella's 20 years as a mechanic puts an unusual spin on this series. Yet among so many other crime novels boasting strong heroines, this one doesn't stand out. (May 22) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743212663
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 5/1/1901
  • Series: Munch Mancini Series , #4
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
FRIDAY

Munch scooted down in the front seat of the big, silver limousine and fought back a yawn. She was tempted to climb in the back and see if there was anything good on TV. Three things stopped her: one was the obvious oxymoron -- good TV; the second was that she didn't want to run the car's battery down; and last, knowing her luck, as soon as she got settled in the passenger cabin, someone would come out of the big house in need of her services. It wouldn't look very professional if she were stretched out on the blue velour-covered bench seat watching Tom Selleck cruise the mean streets of Hawaii in his borrowed Ferrari.

The limo was parked near the four-car garage on one end of a large circular driveway in Pacific Palisades. Rolls-Royces, Mercedes, Lincolns, and Cadillacs lined the curbs. There was also an assortment of economically correct smaller vehicles. Ever since the last so-called gas crisis a few years back in '81, the market had been flooded with four-cylinder vehicles -- many of them coming out of Detroit, though the Japanese still had it all over America's big three when it came to making a smooth-running smaller engine. The four-bangers made in America -- the Vegas, the Pintos, even Lee Iacocca's K-cars -- all had rocky idles and usually stalled when their owners put on their air-conditioning. All Munch's cars had V-8's under the hood. She'd take power above fuel efficiency any day of the week.

She sat up and stretched, then pulled down the visor and flipped open the center panel. In the reflection of the soft amber vanity mirror light, her hair looked more brown than blond. She brushed it back, wiped away asmudge of mascara with her gloved hand, and yawned until her eyes watered.

Tonight's gig was an expression of gratitude from Diane Bergman and the board of the Bergman Cancer Center. Munch had donated three hours of limo time to the nonprofit organization, to be auctioned off at next month's fund-raiser; but for tonight's black-tie gala, she was being paid full wage. She got there early enough to watch the caterers carry the food up the walkway of the split-level home, past the discreet blue-and-white placards proclaiming: REAGAN.

Diane had taken her for a quick tour, explaining that the house belonged to a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who had been kind enough to loan it out for the evening. The house, she was told, was a Norman Foster design. Munch acted suitably impressed, not recognizing the name, but picking up the reverence in the hostess's tone. Munch had spent the greater part of the seventies, her teenage years, riding with outlaw motorcycle gangs. Knowledge of contemporary architects had not been a prerequisite for sitting on the back of a Harley and looking cool. The house was awesome though, the way it seemed to spring out of the rocky bluffs. Wide balconies skirted the home's ocean-facing side. Forty-foot floor-to-ceiling windows showed off an uninterrupted view of Catalina Island, the deep blue Pacific Ocean, and when weather and smog permitted, spectacular sunsets.

For tonight's two-hundred-and-fifty-dollar-a-plate dinner, the fund-raising committee had also hired security in the form of three big-gutted guys in cheap black suits who stood out like crows in a float of swans. Munch had pegged them for off-duty cops.

Now, the sounds of the band filtered through the limo's closed windows as Munch's boss for the evening, Diane Bergman, emerged from the house.

A man behind Diane, his face obscured by shadows, put a hand on her elbow, but she wrenched away with more force than necessary, almost losing her balance. A folded section of newspaper fluttered to the ground. Was Diane drunk or just angry? Munch couldn't tell, but something alerted her to pay close attention. The man towered over Diane, who backed away from him, a hand half-raised to her face in defense.

Munch opened the car door and yelled out, "Everything all right?"

Though she was very strong for a woman who stood a little over five feet tall and weighed in at one hundred and five pounds, she was still a "munchkin" and would hardly be anyone's first choice as bodyguard. She looked around for one of the security guys, but, of course, they weren't anywhere in sight now that they were needed.

The man bothering Diane waved a dismissive hand at Munch. It was the sort of signal you might use with a dog when you wanted it to stay.

Munch knew the best way to deal with an opponent who outweighed her was to gang up on him, preferably by ambush. Like that time years ago with Terrible Tom. Second choice, when the element of surprise was unavailable, was to employ an equalizer. She reached behind the seat and grabbed a long-handled black flashlight. The cops called them "five from the sky," and she aimed to show this bully why. The adrenaline rushed through her veins in anticipation as somewhere in the back of her mind the theme music to Mighty Mouse played.

Diane regained her balance and stood straight. She half-turned to Munch. "Really, it's all right."

Munch hesitated. The head of the flashlight rested on her shoulder. Both hands gripped the handle. "You're sure?"

The man turned toward Munch. His face was obscured by shadows, but his body language had the feel of one big sneer. Munch lifted her makeshift club so that there would be no doubt of her intentions. The guy made a derisive snort, but he turned around and went back into the house. Diane walked over to the limo.

"What's his problem?" Munch asked, suddenly feeling embarrassed about the quasi-weapon she held. This was Pacific Palisades, after all. When people here got angry, they dueled with checkbooks, not clubs.

"It's a long story."

Munch nodded. She knew the shorthand for "none of your business." She had enough "long stories" of her own, some of which would take years to tell, depending on statute of limitations laws. Besides, she was there to provide a service, not to pry where she wasn't wanted.

"Do you have a cigarette?" Diane asked. Trembling hands picked at the gold cuffs of her maroon jacket. She was a well-preserved fifty, with only the first hint of a double chin. Even now, her hair and nails were salon-perfect.

Munch wondered how much time it took to achieve those kinds of cosmetic results. "Won't they shoot you if you smoke?" she asked.

Diane laughed. "They might at that."

The evening's event was a cancer research fund-raiser, the proceeds to go directly to the new Bergman Cancer Center. Diane was not only the event coordinator and president of the board, but a recent nicotine widow. Sam Bergman had smoked three packs a day before his death from cancer last spring. Munch knew both Bergmans from the Texaco station where she worked as a mechanic on their cars.

"I might have a pack in the trunk," she told Diane now, slipping the flashlight back behind the seat and pushing the yellow button inside the glove box to open the trunk.

Diane followed her to the back of the big car and waited while Munch searched through her boxes of supplies for an open pack of Marlboros. "I can't testify to their freshness."

Diane inhaled while Munch held a lit match to the cigarette's end. Diane didn't speak again until she'd taken a long drag.

"Thanks. I hope you're not bored out here. God, you must be exhausted." She twisted one of the solitaire diamonds weighting down her earlobe. Munch was glad to see that her shaking had ceased.

"Nah, I'm all right," Munch assured her.

"But you worked all day at the station and now this."

"I'll sit in any driveway you want for forty-six bucks an hour." The truth was, this was one of her sweetest gigs in a while: waiting for someone to get drunk enough to need a ride home. And being paid full rate to wait. It was as good as any wedding charter. Ten times better than a high school prom.

Diane took another hit on her cigarette and looked at the house. "How old are you?"

Munch had to think a minute. "Twenty-eight."

"And your daughter?"

Munch didn't hesitate. She knew every detail, and cherished every moment of her adopted daughter's life. Asia had been six months old when Munch met her. She was the orphaned daughter of an old lover, and destined perhaps for a much different life if Munch hadn't taken her as her own and given her the best home she could. Fortunately the child welfare services had agreed when Munch finally got around to telling them earlier this year.

"Asia is seven and very proud, the little pumpkin head. She lost her second front tooth yesterday."

"What's she doing tonight?"

"She had a sleepover, so this job worked out great."

"And how does your boyfriend feel about giving you up on a Friday night?"

Munch grinned with a lasciviousness she didn't really feel. "I'll make it up to him." Then, remembering Diane's still recent widowhood, she felt like a jerk.

But Diane only smiled. "What's his name?"

"Garret. Garret Dimond."

"How did you meet?"

"At a class I took at Santa Monica College this summer. He works at a Chevy dealership downtown." Garret also didn't drink or smoke, and was crazy about her. Tall, dark, and predictable. Garret was the kind of guy who, when he went out for a quart of milk, always came back. A healthy, well-adjusted woman would appreciate that kind of thing, she often reminded herself.

On top of that, he worked. Five points for that. Derek, her previous boyfriend, had been a dud work-wise, and she wasn't going to make that mistake again. She already had one kid. Seven-year-old children have a right to be dependent. Thirty-seven-year-old men should stand firmly on their own two feet.

"And it's going well?" Diane asked.

"Actually, we've gotten to the third stage."

"What's that?"

"You know. First comes excitement. That's when everything is new. Then you get to know each other, and you're both trying real hard to be your most likable. That's two."

"But that only lasts so long."

"Exactly. Then you have stage three when you wonder if the guy's worth the effort."

"What's stage four?" Diane asked.

"I don't know. I've never made it that far yet."

Diane patted her arm in a sisterly gesture. "Are you hungry? Would you like some shrimp?"

"No thanks."

"Is there anything I can get you?"

Munch looked at the line of luxury vehicles, maybe thirty in all, and thought of all the potential clients they represented. "How about a copy of the guest list?"

Diane laughed good-naturedly, stubbed out her cigarette, and accepted a breath mint. "I'll see what I can do," she said, disappearing back into the house.

Munch leaned against the car, thinking back to the night justice had been dealt to Terrible Tom in the parking lot of the Venture Inn. It was years ago, when she was still drinking and hanging with a loose-knit group of bikers who jokingly referred to themselves as the "Road Buzzards." They'd spend most evenings cruising the local Venice Beach bars, drinking and carousing, or as she and her friends put it: "causing fun."

Terrible Tom had ridden with the gang occasionally, but he was never completely accepted as one of them. His Harley was too stock; his long black hair and beard always looked too neatly trimmed. Munch suspected he had named himself, too.

One of the group's common hangouts was Hinano's on Lincoln Boulevard, a beer bar with sawdust on the floor and pool tables. Melissa, a mellow hippie chick with long, straight brown hair and wire-rimmed glasses, served pitchers on tap. Melissa showed no interest in hanging out with the Road Buzzards after hours, but she was always friendly and cool. Hinano's was a good warm-up bar; however, for serious drinking Munch preferred the Venture Inn or Sundowners, where they sold generous shots of Jack Daniel's in bucket glasses.

So there they all were this one night at the Venture Inn when the rumor floats down that Terrible Tom had been at Hinano's and for no good reason he picked up a pool ball and hit Melissa square in the face. That was Tom's first mistake of the evening. His second was showing up at the Venture Inn.

Munch gathered the other biker chicks around her, forming a huddle of five with herself as quarterback. One of the women was new to the group so she got the bait assignment.

"Promise him anything," Munch said. "We'll do the rest."

One by one, the women filtered outside. Munch had her friend Roxanne wait by the doorway. Tom was lured outside; Roxanne dropped behind his legs and then Munch charged into him, causing him to trip. When he was on the ground, Munch and her cohorts kicked him until he curled into a ball and begged them to stop.

"And don't ever come back, woman-beating punk," Munch told him, and then, giggling with excitement, the women returned triumphantly to the bar and were treated to a round by the management. Although in retrospect the free drinks were probably more of a thank-you for taking it outside than a reward for delivering justice.

Munch shivered as a damp, cold wind blew in off the ocean. She got back in the car, settled down in the cushioned seat of her Caddy, and also remembered being outraged at how quickly the truth of that night had been corrupted. In the version being told the very next day it was the guys who had made Tom lie down and let all the women kick him. She had made the decision then to let the exact facts of the matter go. Where was the sense in taking credit if it meant it might make you a target later on?

Copyright © 2001 by Barbara Seranella

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Chapter One
FRIDAY

Munch scooted down in the front seat of the big, silver limousine and fought back a yawn. She was tempted to climb in the back and see if there was anything good on TV. Three things stopped her: one was the obvious oxymoron — good TV; the second was that she didn't want to run the car's battery down; and last, knowing her luck, as soon as she got settled in the passenger cabin, someone would come out of the big house in need of her services. It wouldn't look very professional if she were stretched out on the blue velour­covered bench seat watching Tom Selleck cruise the mean streets of Hawaii in his borrowed Ferrari.

The limo was parked near the four-car garage on one end of a large circular driveway in Pacific Palisades. Rolls-Royces, Mercedes, Lincolns, and Cadillacs lined the curbs. There was also an assortment of economically correct smaller vehicles. Ever since the last so-called gas crisis a few years back in '81, the market had been flooded with four-cylinder vehicles — many of them coming out of Detroit, though the Japanese still had it all over America's big three when it came to making a smooth-running smaller engine. The four-bangers made in America — the Vegas, the Pintos, even Lee Iacocca's K-cars — all had rocky idles and usually stalled when their owners put on their air-conditioning. All Munch's cars had V-8's under the hood. She'd take power above fuel efficiency any day of the week.

She sat up and stretched, then pulled down the visor and flipped open the center panel. In the reflection of the soft amber vanity mirror light, her hair looked more brown than blond. She brushed it back, wiped away a smudge of mascara with her gloved hand, and yawned until her eyes watered.

Tonight's gig was an expression of gratitude from Diane Bergman and the board of the Bergman Cancer Center. Munch had donated three hours of limo time to the nonprofit organization, to be auctioned off at next month's fund-raiser; but for tonight's black-tie gala, she was being paid full wage. She got there early enough to watch the caterers carry the food up the walkway of the split-level home, past the discreet blue-and-white placards proclaiming: REAGAN.

Diane had taken her for a quick tour, explaining that the house belonged to a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who had been kind enough to loan it out for the evening. The house, she was told, was a Norman Foster design. Munch acted suitably impressed, not recognizing the name, but picking up the reverence in the hostess's tone. Munch had spent the greater part of the seventies, her teenage years, riding with outlaw motorcycle gangs. Knowledge of contemporary architects had not been a prerequisite for sitting on the back of a Harley and looking cool. The house was awesome though, the way it seemed to spring out of the rocky bluffs. Wide balconies skirted the home's ocean-facing side. Forty-foot floor-to-ceiling windows showed off an uninterrupted view of Catalina Island, the deep blue Pacific Ocean, and when weather and smog permitted, spectacular sunsets.

For tonight's two-hundred-and-fifty-dollar-a-plate dinner, the fund-raising committee had also hired security in the form of three big-gutted guys in cheap black suits who stood out like crows in a float of swans. Munch had pegged them for off-duty cops.

Now, the sounds of the band filtered through the limo's closed windows as Munch's boss for the evening, Diane Bergman, emerged from the house.

A man behind Diane, his face obscured by shadows, put a hand on her elbow, but she wrenched away with more force than necessary, almost losing her balance. A folded section of newspaper fluttered to the ground. Was Diane drunk or just angry? Munch couldn't tell, but something alerted her to pay close attention. The man towered over Diane, who backed away from him, a hand half-raised to her face in defense.

Munch opened the car door and yelled out, "Everything all right?"

Though she was very strong for a woman who stood a little over five feet tall and weighed in at one hundred and five pounds, she was still a "munchkin" and would hardly be anyone's first choice as bodyguard. She looked around for one of the security guys, but, of course, they weren't anywhere in sight now that they were needed.

The man bothering Diane waved a dismissive hand at Munch. It was the sort of signal you might use with a dog when you wanted it to stay.

Munch knew the best way to deal with an opponent who outweighed her was to gang up on him, preferably by ambush. Like that time years ago with Terrible Tom. Second choice, when the element of surprise was unavailable, was to employ an equalizer. She reached behind the seat and grabbed a long-handled black flashlight. The cops called them "five from the sky," and she aimed to show this bully why. The adrenaline rushed through her veins in anticipation as somewhere in the back of her mind the theme music to Mighty Mouse played.

Diane regained her balance and stood straight. She half-turned to Munch. "Really, it's all right."

Munch hesitated. The head of the flashlight rested on her shoulder. Both hands gripped the handle. "You're sure?"

The man turned toward Munch. His face was obscured by shadows, but his body language had the feel of one big sneer. Munch lifted her makeshift club so that there would be no doubt of her intentions. The guy made a derisive snort, but he turned around and went back into the house. Diane walked over to the limo.

"What's his problem?" Munch asked, suddenly feeling embarrassed about the quasi-weapon she held. This was Pacific Palisades, after all. When people here got angry, they dueled with checkbooks, not clubs.

"It's a long story."

Munch nodded. She knew the shorthand for "none of your business." She had enough "long stories" of her own, some of which would take years to tell, depending on statute of limitations laws. Besides, she was there to provide a service, not to pry where she wasn't wanted.

"Do you have a cigarette?" Diane asked. Trembling hands picked at the gold cuffs of her maroon jacket. She was a well-preserved fifty, with only the first hint of a double chin. Even now, her hair and nails were salon-perfect.

Munch wondered how much time it took to achieve those kinds of cosmetic results. "Won't they shoot you if you smoke?" she asked.

Diane laughed. "They might at that."

The evening's event was a cancer research fund-raiser, the proceeds to go directly to the new Bergman Cancer Center. Diane was not only the event coordinator and president of the board, but a recent nicotine widow. Sam Bergman had smoked three packs a day before his death from cancer last spring. Munch knew both Bergmans from the Texaco station where she worked as a mechanic on their cars.

"I might have a pack in the trunk," she told Diane now, slipping the flashlight back behind the seat and pushing the yellow button inside the glove box to open the trunk.

Diane followed her to the back of the big car and waited while Munch searched through her boxes of supplies for an open pack of Marlboros. "I can't testify to their freshness."

Diane inhaled while Munch held a lit match to the cigarette's end. Diane didn't speak again until she'd taken a long drag.

"Thanks. I hope you're not bored out here. God, you must be exhausted." She twisted one of the solitaire diamonds weighting down her earlobe. Munch was glad to see that her shaking had ceased.

"Nah, I'm all right," Munch assured her.

"But you worked all day at the station and now this."

"I'll sit in any driveway you want for forty-six bucks an hour." The truth was, this was one of her sweetest gigs in a while: waiting for someone to get drunk enough to need a ride home. And being paid full rate to wait. It was as good as any wedding charter. Ten times better than a high school prom.

Diane took another hit on her cigarette and looked at the house. "How old are you?"

Munch had to think a minute. "Twenty-eight."

"And your daughter?"

Munch didn't hesitate. She knew every detail, and cherished every moment of her adopted daughter's life. Asia had been six months old when Munch met her. She was the orphaned daughter of an old lover, and destined perhaps for a much different life if Munch hadn't taken her as her own and given her the best home she could. Fortunately the child welfare services had agreed when Munch finally got around to telling them earlier this year.

"Asia is seven and very proud, the little pumpkin head. She lost her second front tooth yesterday."

"What's she doing tonight?"

"She had a sleepover, so this job worked out great."

"And how does your boyfriend feel about giving you up on a Friday night?"

Munch grinned with a lasciviousness she didn't really feel. "I'll make it up to him." Then, remembering Diane's still recent widowhood, she felt like a jerk.

But Diane only smiled. "What's his name?"

"Garret. Garret Dimond."

"How did you meet?"

"At a class I took at Santa Monica College this summer. He works at a Chevy dealership downtown." Garret also didn't drink or smoke, and was crazy about her. Tall, dark, and predictable. Garret was the kind of guy who, when he went out for a quart of milk, always came back. A healthy, well-adjusted woman would appreciate that kind of thing, she often reminded herself.

On top of that, he worked. Five points for that. Derek, her previous boyfriend, had been a dud work-wise, and she wasn't going to make that mistake again. She already had one kid. Seven-year-old children have a right to be dependent. Thirty-seven-year-old men should stand firmly on their own two feet.

"And it's going well?" Diane asked.

"Actually, we've gotten to the third stage."

"What's that?"

"You know. First comes excitement. That's when everything is new. Then you get to know each other, and you're both trying real hard to be your most likable. That's two."

"But that only lasts so long."

"Exactly. Then you have stage three when you wonder if the guy's worth the effort."

"What's stage four?" Diane asked.

"I don't know. I've never made it that far yet."

Diane patted her arm in a sisterly gesture. "Are you hungry? Would you like some shrimp?"

"No thanks."

"Is there anything I can get you?"

Munch looked at the line of luxury vehicles, maybe thirty in all, and thought of all the potential clients they represented. "How about a copy of the guest list?"

Diane laughed good-naturedly, stubbed out her cigarette, and accepted a breath mint. "I'll see what I can do," she said, disappearing back into the house.

Munch leaned against the car, thinking back to the night justice had been dealt to Terrible Tom in the parking lot of the Venture Inn. It was years ago, when she was still drinking and hanging with a loose-knit group of bikers who jokingly referred to themselves as the "Road Buzzards." They'd spend most evenings cruising the local Venice Beach bars, drinking and carousing, or as she and her friends put it: "causing fun."

Terrible Tom had ridden with the gang occasionally, but he was never completely accepted as one of them. His Harley was too stock; his long black hair and beard always looked too neatly trimmed. Munch suspected he had named himself, too.

One of the group's common hangouts was Hinano's on Lincoln Boulevard, a beer bar with sawdust on the floor and pool tables. Melissa, a mellow hippie chick with long, straight brown hair and wire-rimmed glasses, served pitchers on tap. Melissa showed no interest in hanging out with the Road Buzzards after hours, but she was always friendly and cool. Hinano's was a good warm-up bar; however, for serious drinking Munch preferred the Venture Inn or Sundowners, where they sold generous shots of Jack Daniel's in bucket glasses.

So there they all were this one night at the Venture Inn when the rumor floats down that Terrible Tom had been at Hinano's and for no good reason he picked up a pool ball and hit Melissa square in the face. That was Tom's first mistake of the evening. His second was showing up at the Venture Inn.

Munch gathered the other biker chicks around her, forming a huddle of five with herself as quarterback. One of the women was new to the group so she got the bait assignment.

"Promise him anything," Munch said. "We'll do the rest."

One by one, the women filtered outside. Munch had her friend Roxanne wait by the doorway. Tom was lured outside; Roxanne dropped behind his legs and then Munch charged into him, causing him to trip. When he was on the ground, Munch and her cohorts kicked him until he curled into a ball and begged them to stop.

"And don't ever come back, woman-beating punk," Munch told him, and then, giggling with excitement, the women returned triumphantly to the bar and were treated to a round by the management. Although in retrospect the free drinks were probably more of a thank-you for taking it outside than a reward for delivering justice.

Munch shivered as a damp, cold wind blew in off the ocean. She got back in the car, settled down in the cushioned seat of her Caddy, and also remembered being outraged at how quickly the truth of that night had been corrupted. In the version being told the very next day it was the guys who had made Tom lie down and let all the women kick him. She had made the decision then to let the exact facts of the matter go. Where was the sense in taking credit if it meant it might make you a target later on?

Copyright © 2001 by Barbara Seranella

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Munch at her best

    Miranda 'Munch' Mancini had a difficult adolescence and moved out at the earliest available moment. Munch used alcohol, drugs, and sex to forget some of her pain. However, an inner strength allowed Munch to clean up her act, but she has never forgotten her roots, helping others in similar crisis. <P> Munch has an adopted seven-year-old child whom she adores. She works as a mechanic and moonlights as a limousine driver. On her current driving job, Munch sees the chairwoman arguing with an unknown male. Several days later, the woman is found murdered. The police believe a serial rapist killed the victim. By coincidence, Munch learns of another victim, who survived the rape. Munch tries to help her friend cope even as the rapist threatens to kill Asia. An irate Munch vows to bring this maniac down even if it knowingly places her in danger. <P> Of the four Mancini novels, UNFINSHED BUSINESS is the most memorable as the heroine becomes a complete character with flaws as opposed to a bad girl makes good stereotype. The story line contains a lot of surprises that keeps the reader's attention. Munch's best trait is her maturity that allows her to know she does not have all the answers but that is okay because nobody does. Barbara Seranella is a gifted writer who makes her characters seems real and fun to observe in action. <P>Harriet Klausner

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