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Unwanted Company Hardcover – January 7, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Munch Mancini Novels
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; 1st edition (January 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060192135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060192136
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,979,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Just when things seem to be going relatively well for recovering addict, ex-prostitute, ex-con, and whiz-bang auto-mechanic-cum-limo-service-magnate Miranda "Munch" Mancini and her 6-year-old adopted daughter, Asia, she encounters a world of good-intentioned hurt from an old druggie friend, Ellen. Fresh out of prison and just 16 days sober, Ellen is determined to get her life back on track. When things on the outside don't go according to plan, she turns to Munch, who does the right thing by offering Ellen a couch to sleep on and a part-time job as a limo driver. Before you can say "That Ellen, she's going to be trouble," that Ellen becomes trouble when she drives Victor, a Romanian diplomat with a taste for the seedier side of Western life, and Raleigh, a misogynistic and unscrupulous CIA agent, to Tijuana. And, naturally, she doesn't tell Munch.

Serial murder, mayhem, and numerous foreign and domestic intrigues follow in Unwanted Company, ex-mechanic Barbara Seranella's fast-paced third novel. Like No Human Involved and No Offense Intended, it features a cast of well-defined if invariably impaired characters, including Munch's refreshingly normal--that is to say, normally troubled without being psychologically tortured--pal Detective Mace St. John and his partner, the self-doubting Detective Cassiletti. Stylish, spare, and finely tuned, Unwanted Company is an early entry in what promises to be a long and happy run for Barbara Seranella (certainly) and Munch Mancini (please). --Michael Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Hanging on to a marginal existence by her fingernails, ex-addict Miranda "Munch" Mancini supplements her income as a Los Angeles auto mechanic by scrupulously running her own limo service--consisting of one sparkling Cadillac. But as this energetic novel rapidly shows, Munch takes on more than she bargained for when she accepts unscrupulous federal agent Raleigh Ward; his charge, sleazy Romanian diplomat Victor Draicu; and two beauteous female friends as week-long customers. It's 1984, the Olympics are coming to Los Angeles and the Eastern Bloc is to be pampered. But a serial killer is loose, viciously stabbing young women, and Munch gets involved in that nightmare when the two women last seen in her limo apparently become the murderer's latest victims. Matters complicate when Munch's reckless friend Ellen, just released from jail, takes Victor and Raleigh (and the limo) to Tijuana, only to see her two passengers actively involved in a triple homicide. Could either Raleigh or Victor--busy with their own highly illegal scam involving contraband weapons--be the serial killer? Unfortunately, this third in the Munch series (after No Offense Intended) shows its hand far too soon, yet its plot is still confusing. Yet despite these flaws and a pat ending, the novel's dizzying pace, married to Seranella's incisive portraits of flawed, vulnerable characters, makes for a satisfying novel. Agent, Sandy Dijkstra. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Barbara Seranella was born in Santa Monica, California, and grew up in Pacific Palisades. After a restless childhood that included running away from home at the age of fourteen, joining a hippie commune in the Haight, and riding with outlaw motorcycle clubs, she decided to settle down and do something normal--she became an auto mechanic. Barbara retired from wrenching in 1993. She is the author of Deadman's Switch, No Human Involved, No Offense Intended, Unwanted Company, Unfinished Business, No Man Standing, Unpaid Dues, Unwilling Accomplice.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Brown on July 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Clean & sober for 6 years, Munch Mancini has her own limo service & is glumly looking at the post-graduation slump of summer. She hires out for a week to a cash-toting customer. When the women who escorted her customer & his friend the night before end up dead, Munch gets drawn back into sleuthing & reconnects with Det. St. John. When longtime friend Ellen, recently released from jail, turns up complete with her gallery of wigs & dare-devil sense of fun, Munch offers her a temporary slot as a driver.
Then Ellen, her customers & her limo disappear & Munch decides she's going to have to do some hunting. Meanwhile, police departments & foreign powers are breathing down her neck, also wanting to know where her customers & her limo are.
Another satisfying read from Barbara Seranella with all the ingredients I so like in her Munch Mancini books: quirky, dangerous characters, lots of unexpected action & some good moments of memory & redemption...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Miranda "Munch" Mancini is an ex-con and a former addict who has stayed clean for seven years. She lives for Asia, a child who owns her heart in spite of being someone else's offspring. She tries to stay squeaky clean, but when Ellen, a close friend is released from jail, Munch takes the woman into her home. She provides Ellen a job as a driver of the one of the limousine that make up Ellen's fleet. However, Munch fails to anticipate that Ellen will pick up a fare without informing her benefactor.

Ellen and the limousine disappear somewhere in Tijuana. By the time the vehicle is found, Ellen and her passengers have fled the scene. Apparently in the border town, Ellen has witnessed a horrible murder that links back to a Los Angeles serial killer, The "Band Aid Killer." Munch's friend, police detective Mace St. John feels he knows the identity of the perpetrator, but cannot touch the killer because of a CIA connection. When the culprit threatens Asia, the mass murderer finds Munch, Ellen, and Mac as formidable opponents ready to do anything to stop him.

Readers will deeply care what happens to Munch and Asia. Munch is flawed, but has an inner strength to climb out from the abyss and become a positive member of society. She represents hope and survival regardless of the odds against success. Each character has a voice in the swiftly moving story line. That technique works because the talented Barbara Seranella capably allows the audience to observe the inner thoughts and feelings of the main players. With novels like UNWANTED COMPANY and NO HUMAN INVOLVED, Ms. Seranella is gaining a reputation for exciting tales.

Harriet Klausner
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a new mystery writer to investigate, and are tired of the "formula" writers so common today, welcome to the world of Barbara Seranella. In her latest best seller, Unwanted Company, her gritty, in your face, real world experiences, written in a clean, spare style, pull you quickly through this book. It's even smoother than her first two--but if you are a new reader, don't skip No Offence Intended and No Human Involved.
If you are a follower of "Munch" Mancini, little Asia, Detective Mace St. John and his sidekick Detective Cassiletti, you are in for a great read. New characters abound: Ellen, a blast from the past, the dirty duo of a Romanian madman and his CIA "Spook" handler are the best yet.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of this book, is that nobody in Hollywood has scooped it up for a movie!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Haschka TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
UNWANTED COMPANY is the third in the series by Barbara Seranella featuring her "bad girl" heroine, Miranda "Munch" Mancini, 70's drug addict and hooker, now seven years into going straight after her debut in NO HUMAN INVOLVED. It's now 1984, and Munch is still an ace auto mechanic, but with a limo business on the side to help bring in money to support herself and her daughter Asia, the latter "acquired" during the last episode, NO OFFENSE INTENDED. In the first novel of the series, Munch had a refreshing antisocial edginess that colored her efforts to steer clear of a murder investigation being conducted by LAPD detective Mace St. John. By the following thriller, Munch had mellowed considerably, though still finding herself in compromising situations most law-abiding citizens never encounter. In UNWANTED COMPANY, Munch is almost a model citizen as she helps an older and wearier St. John catch a serial killer, with ripples involving the CIA, a shady Romanian, and some loose plutonium. Our heroine's continuing display of an improving social attitude remains a mild disappointment. However, in this thriller, the author compensates by introducing us to one of Mancini's old pals, Ellen, just out of the women's correctional institute and still feeling ambivalent about giving up illegal substances and turning tricks. In any case, Munch gives her a job as a limo driver, upon which Ellen wastes no time dragging her employer and the Caddy into St. John's latest case. Ellen is strangely endearing as she ricochets from one risky situation to another with more concern for her appearance, wigs and make-up kit than anything else. I hope Seranella invites her back in future offerings.Read more ›
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