Ex-nurse-turned-insurance fraud investigator Pauline Sokol's willing to risk anything to put a bad doc out of business—even her best friend Goldie's near-perfect proboscis! Her cross-dressing compadre has agreed to get his shnozz bobbed so Pauline can pose as his private nurse and gain entry into Highcliff Manor—a posh plastic surgery "spa" making an illegal killing with their repeat clientele.
But when a super-rich "frequent flier" is unexpectedly widowed—and a receptionist who knows too much is given the boot . . . off a nearby cliff!—Pauline realizes she's stuck her own nose into something really nasty. Despite the pleasant distraction of the hunky Dr. Neal—and the unexpected appearance of her sexy cohort, Jagger—Pauline can't shake the feeling she's being closely watched. And if she's not careful, she'll be the next one who goes under the knife!
About the Author
After serving in the Air Force as a registered nurse, Lori Avocato decided to give up nursing to write fiction. She lives in New England and is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, PASIC, NINC, Romance Writers of America, the Author's Guild, and Sisters in Crime. She's raising two teenage sons (heaven help her!), and one darling dog, Spanky. Lori is the author of six novels featuring Pauline Sokol: A Dose of Murder; The Stiff and the Dead; One Dead Under the Cuckoo's Nest; Deep Sea Dead; Nip, Tuck, Dead; and Dead on Arrival.
Read an Excerpt
Nip, Tuck, DeadA Pauline Sokol Mystery
By Lori Avocato
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Lori Avocato
All right reserved.
"What the hell is wrong with my nose?"
I couldn't help shout at my skuzzy boss, Fabio Scarpello, who had just suggested I get a nose job. A nose job!
I looked into the file cabinet to see as much of my profile as I could. Only things I could find in the metal were fingerprints galore and some brown stuff, which I didn't want to even guess at.
Fabio was a pig in his office, and I'm sure in his private life (and not only with the setting, I might add), but he was the owner of Scarpello and Tonelli Insurance Company and gave me insurance fraud cases to investigate.
In other words, he was my only means of support.
I'd switched careers midstream, leaving nursing for snooping. Thing was, darling Fabio always gave me the medical fraud cases. Sure it made sense, but I wasn't looking for sensible. I was looking to get out of that business! Being single and in my early thirties, I knew I couldn't keep switching fields and have any kind of retirement. Besides, I loved the investigating. What a rush to solve a case!
I never let the reminder that murders occurred along the way even enter my head.
My heart thudded. Murders!
Oops. Truthfully, the M word did that to me since I'd come way too close to being one of its victims--several times.
I looked closer at the file cabinet. Fabio'sbrown-stained reflection appeared. Yikes.
"No, you don't need a nose job, doll. But that's part of the business. Going undercover doesn't always come easily." He sucked on the wet, sticky end of his cigar and laughed. "Nope. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to earn some bucks. Besides, I thought any doll would jump at the chance to have something fixed." His gaze ran down to my legs and back up to my chest--and stayed there. "Rather have a bo--"
"No!" I stepped back. Yuck. No way was I going to discuss my chest with him. "I don't understand why I need anything done."
He took a long pull on the cigar, coughed until his face was rotten-apple-colored, and grinned. "How the hell else are you going to get inside that plastic surgery clinic to do your job?"
I glared at him for a good fifteen minutes. Okay, maybe it was only for a few minutes, but it seemed longer. I knew what was going to come out of my mouth, but I really didn't want it to. No way. I was not going to say ... "I can go to Highcliff Manor as a--"
My insides dropped to my toes. I couldn't believe what I'd nearly said. I'd almost offered my medical services, throwing myself back into a burned-out career.
Heaven help Pauline Sokol because I obviously couldn't help myself.
Fabio walked to his desk and shoved a manila folder toward me. "One of my clients, a small company out of Rhode Island, reports an increase in plastic surgery submissions from this one particular clinic. Ones insurance shouldn't be covering. Smells to high heaven." He waved the folder at me. "Case number five for you, doll."
"Stop calling me doll or you'll be wearing that cigar in your ear--lit." I stood firm, reached across the pile of old coffee cups and stale doughnuts on dirty dishes to grab the folder from his hands. I wish I had a nickel for every time I'd told him to stop calling me that, I thought as I grunted, looked at the file and started walking toward the door.
"Make sure you come up with a good reason to go to Highcliff. Those rich bastards are often smart. That's how some got filthy rich while others got their dough from Mommy and Daddy. Newport, Rhode Island, is filled with money."
I think he snorted, but my mind was on the file in my hands.
I had to come up with a plan to get inside the clinic? This was a new one. Usually Fabio handed me a case already in the works, where I went to investigate whatever he'd set up. This time, since I'd refused to get any part of me nipped, tucked, or mutilated, I was on my own.
But the bonus was that in Newport, being such a posh town, the fraud was exorbitant--and so would be my fee.
And I needed money like a sailboat needed the wind.
"I know!" my best friend and roomie, Miles Scarpello (Fabio's nephew by adoption--thus Miles was a honey, as he lucked out of being from the same gene pool) yelled. "You can go to Highcliff as a rich bitch and then just get your ears pinned back ... a bit."
"Whaaaaaaaat!" I screamed, and ran to the mirror. I'd been holding Spanky, our joint custody shih tzu who weighed in now at seven pounds, so he jumped onto the couch in my haste. Spanky had adopted another "parent" in Goldie Perlman, Miles's significant other, my other best friend and our third roomie.
Yes, they were both the best, and I could never pick one over the other.
I leaned closer and pulled back my hair. "Nothing wrong with my ears. Is there?" I leaned forward, "Oh, my," I mumbled and moved my head from side to side. "And, besides, if I get any surgery, what kind of shape would I be in to work?"
He looked at me. "Your ears, nose, breasts and every inch of you is perfect, Pauline. There is nothing needing any kind of tucking or clipping." He bit on a perfectly manicured nail.
I looked down at my fingers and groaned. Being a nurse had me in the habit of wearing my nails way too short. I tried to hide that fact with a bronze nail polish, but since I hadn't been to the nail place in weeks, the bronze was now a dull gray and nearly chipped off.
Excerpted from Nip, Tuck, Dead by Lori Avocato Copyright © 2006 by Lori Avocato. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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What People are Saying About This
“A fresh, new voice in mystery . . . great fun and a diverting escape.”
“Fans of Evanovich are sure to enjoy this funny, fast-paced series.”
“An outrageous romp of a novel; a laugh and a shiver a book I just couldn’t put down.”
“A hilarious roller coaster ride.”
“Clever, comical, and gutsy, Pauline Sokol is the perfect sleuth.”
“Sexy and sassy . . . a sure prescription for outrageous sleuthing.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is book five in the Pauline Sokol series by Lori Avocato.Pauline is an ex-nuse turned insurance fraud investigato. In this installment she is going undercover as her best friend's (Goldie the cross-dresser) private nurse at an upscale plastic sugery retreat. This book wasn't as good as some of the others in the series, but I liked that Pauline actually started investigating on her own. I was beginning to wonder why she was getting paid when it seemed like Jagger already had the other cases solved before she got there and was just playing with her. Jagger does have a role in this book (it would be sad if he didn't), just not shadowing everything that Pauline does.If you are reading this series you will be happy to gather new information on the mysterious Jagger, if you haven't started this series yet start at the beginning and attept to overlook the Janet Evanovich rip-off.
Book #5 in the Pauline Sokol mystery series. Pauline seems to be getting more independent in her investigating skills and is starting to find the clues on her own without Jagger's help all the time. Not that Jagger is out of the story by any means. Though I like this series and see the similaritis to the Stephanie Plum series, Pauline is not quite as "street-smart" as Stephanie and seems more naive...more cutesy if you will, than Stepanie. This book was probably one of my least favorites of the series so far, but it might also have something to do with having a cold during the time I was reading it! :) I still enjoy the series and even the worst one of the bunch was still some good readin' for me. Oh, and we finally get to learn a little bit of interesting info about Jagger by the end of this one.
This was a great book. The best in the series so far, in my opinion. Pauline is pretty much on her own for this investigation and manages fairly well without "her Jagger". but not so well that he doesn't have to come to her rescue in the end. As a bonus, she finally realizes how much Jagger cares for her and also discovers his "secret" identity. Lots of action, plenty of Goldie and a few close intimiate encounters with a Dr. who is not quite what he seems.
Fun series, similar to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum
I love the Pauline Skol books. This one was wonderful.
Wanting a career change, former nurse Pauline Sokol now works as an insurance fraud investigator for the Scarpello and Tonelli Insurance Company. Her latest job is to investigate Highcliff Manor, a plastic surgery and spa clinic in Newport, Rhode Island. They have suddenly submitted a big increase in health claims and the company¿s client thinks fraud is involved. Pauline goes undercover as a private nurse (talk about typecasting) caring for her friend Goldie who is really getting a nose job at the manor.-------------------- When they arrive at Highcliff, Pauline gets right to work snooping into employee Ian¿s computer, asking questions and looking in desks for evidence. Her nemesis Jagger, is staying at the same inn where she took a room and drives her crazy with his sexy come-ons and unwanted advice. When she finds Ian¿s body, she is certain his death is linked to the fraud even though the police think he committed suicide. Between taking care of Goldie who is not the easiest patient she ever dealt with and going home for a weekend to say hello to her mother who has a broken arm, Pauline starts investigating in earnest and almost ends up becoming murdered by a killer who hid in plain sight.---------------------- Readers who like the Stephanie Plum series will want to read the Pauline Sokol tales. The heroine is similar to Plum, who is in a job that she isn¿t really qualified for while Jaguar is similar to Joe Morelli who watches out for the damsel in distress who never thinks she is in danger. Of course there are many differences between the two humorous crime caper series because Lori Avocato has her own distinct style and humor with characters who feel like the reader¿s next door neighbors.-------------- Harriet Klausner