From Publishers Weekly
Littlefield's amusing, sassy debut introduces Stella Hardesty, a widow and survivor of domestic violence, who owns a sewing shop in a sleepy Missouri town. On the side, Stella solves problems and metes out justice on behalf of battered women, like Chrissy Shaw, whose abusive bully of an ex-husband, Roy Dean Shaw, Stella keeps tabs on. After Roy Dean absconds with Chrissy's baby, Stella learns he's involved with local mobsters in a stolen auto parts ring. Chrissy sheds her victimhood to team up with Stella and do battle. After girding up their weaponry, the unlikely crime-fighting duo trick their way into the home of Roy Dean's mob boss, who they suspect has Chrissy's son. Stella discovers that no amount of preparation and righteous anger can prevail over pure evil, at least not without loads of trouble. Spunky, unapologetically middle-aged and a tad cantankerous, Stella barges bravely and often unwisely into danger. (Aug.)
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“A Bad Day for Sorry is another of the year’s best debuts, a standout mystery distinguished by its charming protagonist and her compelling voice. We don’t get many characters like Stella in mystery fiction, but we should. She’s fresh and sassy and an awful lot of fun to read about.”--David J. Montgomery, Chicago Sun-Times
“In her debut novel, Sophie Littlefield shows considerable skills for delving into the depths of her characters and complex plotting as she disarms the reader.….Littlefield keeps the plot churning with realistic action that doesn't let up. She also allows the moral ambiguity of vigilante justice to enhance this story….Littlefield's exciting debut should be the start of an even more exciting series.”—South Florida Sun Sentinel
“Ass-whuppin’ 50-year-old Stella is nothing if not inventive….Littlefield puts a new spin on middle-age sleuths in this rollicking, rip-roaring debut.”--Booklist
"Expect the unexpected with Stella Hardesty, who's quite the intriguing character....From Stella's opening remark...the reader can't help but be drawn into her world and wonder where it all will lead."--Romantic Times BOOKreviews (4 Stars)
Try to picture a more pacific view of small-town Americana than this: a 50-year-old widow who runs a sewing-machine shop in Missouri.
But Stella Hardesty will make you change your mind. Sure, she knows about sewing, but she also knows how to bring a cheating, abusive man to his knees -- or to the hospital.
Such is the premise of Sophie Littlefield's first mystery, A Bad Day for Sorry (288 pages, Minotaur Books, $24.95), and it's markedly original. In this initial outing, Stella, who runs a vigilante service for abused women (she was one, herself) is approached by Chrissy Shaw, who tells her that her no-account husband, Roy Dean Shaw, has taken off with Tucker, Chrissy's toddler son from a previous relationship. As Stella sets out to retrieve Tucker and bring Roy Dean down a notch or four, she finds her own life in peril.
Littlefield uses words, not drawings, but this is as graphic a crime novel as you'll find this side of the thriller subgenre. The story's compelling, the dialogue p (Jay Strafford Richmond Times-Dispatch
Vigilante justice is getting a workout in crime fiction.
The sleuth who takes the law into her own hands in Sophie Littlefield's debut novel, "A Bad Day for Sorry,'' is Stella Hardesty. Having dispatched her own abusive husband with the business end of a wrench, Stella takes tough and ornery to new levels. She has developed a "justice-delivering career,'' her business driven through word of mouth from satisfied customers. She rides through the rural Missouri countryside in her husband's beloved Jeep ("a sweet little green Liberty with chrome aluminum wheels and a sunroof'') to strains of Emmy Lou Harris, stalking recalcitrant abusers and monitoring her "parolees.''
Stella takes her Johnny Walker straight up, and she'd rather not have to use the yoke and spreader bar with restraint cuffs, or the electric shock baton, or that little Raven .25 "she took off a cheating son-of-a-bitch in Kansas City,'' but some spousal abusers just won't stay "whupped.'' Still, her average quarry is an an (Hallie Ephron Boston Globe
The Story She owns a sewing shop, but what fiftysomething badass Stella Hardesty really does is dispense justice to abusive husbands and boyfriends, having discovered that 'whuppin' ass wasn't so hard.' TV Pitch Put Cagney or Lacey in rural Missouri. Lowdown Crime fiction hasn't seen a character as scrappy, mean, and incredibly appealing as Stella in a long time. A- (Entertainment Weekly