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Dating Dead Men: A Novel Paperback – March 15, 2005
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, almost in the ritz and glamor - she's more on the outskirts, struggling as manager of a Welcome! Greetings card store. Alarmed by a phonecall from her brother, a resident at a local mental hospital she hurries to him, only to discover a dead body in the hospital's driveway. She quickly becomes entangled with an unlikely "doctor" Gomez Gomez and his ferret.
Before long Wollie is swept into a mystery involing the mafia, strange Swedes, the three 'C's and much more besides. In the midst of all this she's trying to date 40 guys in little more than 40 days for "research" and has to impress the unimpressible Mr. Bundt who has the power to upgrade her store to Willkommen status. Needless to say, things become adequately complicated!
Harley's biggest strength is in her colorful characters (sometimes a little too colorful - nobody would really have a name like Wollie!). They ooze life onto every page with a rich coating of LA character on top. Many people make an appearance in this book. At some points it becomes difficult to keep track of all the relationships between the mafiosi. This isn't a fault with the writing - our heroine is having trouble herself and often provides some useful summaries.
Harley says in her afterword that this book took a long time to get written. Let's hope the next one doesn't take as long but is just as good. This is highly recommended.
In that, I can see, I differ from some of Amazon's other reviewers.
This book is definitely a hybrid, which may make it a challenge to fans of the traditional mystery. It has many qualities of the romantic comedy. In that guise, Kozak reads most to me like MaryJanice Davidson (without the vampires). Of the other mystery writers I read, Kozak reminds me most of Joan Hess, particularly with Hess' Claire Malloy mysteries. But we're not dealing with the slow meticulous gathering of clues common to the mystery genre--and which for many of us is the primary pleasure of the reading of that type. From the start, this novel is a joyride, with some interesting scenery along the way. Less Ellery Queen. More Inspector Clouseau. But without all the bumbling...and with a lot more focus on dating and shoes.
Our heroine, Wollie Shelley, is warm and believable--larger than life, but--in my opinion--true to it. Her relationship with her mentally ill brother (which propels the story) feels genuine, not exploitative. Some of his symptoms may be cliche, but he is not--he is highly sympathetic. Wollie's career goals and dreams feel integral, not window-dressing tossed in to simulate character depth. As with many comic characters, she is often impulsive, but her impulsiveness doesn't seem contrived simply to move the plot along. Her behavior seems of a piece with her personality.
I plan to pick up the second Wollie Shelley mystery immediately. If it's even half as much fun as this one, Kozak will have earned herself a loyal fan.
While on a late night visit to the mental hospital to take her brother aluminum foil (read the book to find out why :)), she first sees a dead body on the way to the hospital lying in the road. Since she fears that her brother has knowledge of it, or may have something to do with it, she takes no immediate action. While at the hospital, she is taken somewhat hostage by a man pretending to be a doctor who is actually running from the mob, and has some knowledge of why the guy is dead in the road.
What follows is a completely amusing and engrossing tale of how this all works out in a really fresh new way of doing so. I found certain elements just a little far fetched (can't tell you what they are without giving something important away), I still found it a very good read and am currently reading the second in the series.
I found Wollie to be a fun herione with a lot of very real elements about her. You can't help but like her and look forward to what she might do next.
I highly recommend this book. I did recognize that the author was an actress and do know who she is. I don't see why some have made that an issue. I think her work as an author and as an actress stand alone and speak for themselves. I recommend her both as an author and an actress.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed this book very much: lots of great "one liners" that made me laugh out loud; I liked the characters and thought the plot was an amazing feat of imagination. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Avid Reader
An excellent first novel Ms Kozak should be proud of.
Literary critics' nitpicking aside, this was fun to read. Read more
This was such a fun read! I laughed out loud a few times. Light hearted, quirky, and a little mysterious. Looking forward to the next book in the series.Published 6 months ago by Traci
Wollie Shelley is a fabulous character. She struggles with keeping her business afloat, trying to find a decent man in L.A. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Carol S.
Love this author. Book arrived in perfect shape and quickly. Funny, funny, funny. Love the book on CDs too.Published 15 months ago by Pamela L. Morrison
I REALLY LIKE THE ACTRESS, HARLEY JANE KOZAK, SO I WAS INTERESTED IN READING HER BOOK, HOWEVER, IT WAS RAMBLING, TOO MANY WIERD CHARACTERS, SLOW MOVING, I DIDN'T EVEN FINISH IT. Read morePublished 17 months ago by PA
It keeps up your interest with plot turns. This is a book I highly recommend. Must read the next ones in the series.Published 20 months ago by Janet Robertson