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A Bad Day for Pretty: A Crime Novel (Stella Hardesty Crime Novels) Hardcover – June 8, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Littlefield's rollicking second novel featuring tough-talking Stella Hardesty, who manages a sewing shop and doles out her own brand of justice to wife-beaters, delivers on the promise of her debut, A Bad Day for Sorry. When a tornado uncovers a mummified woman buried at the Prosper, Mo., fairgrounds, the police suspect Neb Donovan, whom Stella once helped kick an OxyContin addiction, and Stella reluctantly accepts Donna Donovan's pleas to clear her husband's name. Complicating Stella's investigation—and her long-simmering feelings for Sheriff Goat Jones—is the arrival of Goat's former wife, Brandy Truax, who has designs on her ex and a possible link to the murdered woman. With her plucky assistant, Chrissy Shaw, Stella must exonerate Neb while eluding the real killer. Littlefield wields humor like a whip, but never lets it dilute the whodunit. A force to be reckoned with, Stella is a welcome addition to the world of unorthodox female crime fighters. (June)
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From Booklist

Still healing from the gunshot wounds she got on her last case, Stella Hardesty is trying to spur on her budding relationship with Sheriff Goat Jones when his long-estranged-but-still-not-ex-wife, brassy and manipulative Brandy Truax, appears. So Stella has a potential rival for Goat, adding to the concern that her vigilante method of gaining justice for women abused by the men in their lives is diametrically opposed to his. And when a tornado turns up a woman’s mummified body in her hometown of Prosper, Missouri, and Stella sticks her nose in the case because a friend is implicated in the murder, the sheriff is downright annoyed. As former client Chrissy Shaw brushes up her IT skills and becomes Stella’s associate, Stella finds her concerns intertwining and discovers that her far-flung reputation has its downside. Even not fully recovered from her injuries (in A Bad Day for Sorry, 2009), fiftyish Stella is a force to be reckoned with in this second outing in an entertaining series. --Michele Leber
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Product Details

  • Series: Stella Hardesty Crime Novels (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312559755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312559755
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,317,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J.Prather TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book I've read by this author, so I missed Stella's first adventure. I thought the author did a great job of bringing new readers up to speed, so if you're like me, you can probably jump in with this one too. Having said that, I think the first one must of been a bit more exciting, so you might want to start there anyway. This book reads like a cozy mystery, since Stella is officially an amateur, but make no mistake, it has quite a bit more language and sexual innuendos than your average cozy. It seems to straddle the middle of two genres, not exactly a cozy and not exactly a typical mystery complete with clues, violence, sex and truly nasty guys you really have to chase down. This story didn't work for me because I think I'm more used to mysteries with a bit more edge. I didn't find it compelling at all and found myself struggling to keep with it, especially during the first half of the book. There is no page turning suspense, and in fact I wasn't really that interested in finding out who did it! I needed a LOT more excitement, and a lot less repetition of Stella's philosophies of life. It seems like the author kept saying the same thing over and over, when I got it and liked it the first time.

Still, I would give this book a solid 3.5 stars, maybe even 4 just because I loved this character so much! Stella Hardesty is a middle aged woman looking out for all the women out there who are abused and taken advantage of. She's a Robin Hood in rubber clogs and the author does a great job of giving her an authentic voice filled with homespun wisdom and humor. She's a character I would love to have a drink with, and along with her partner Chrissy Shaw, they provided enough humor and charm to keep the so-so story humming along.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you can't wait for Janet Evanovich's SIZZLING SIXTEEN to be released on June 22, Sophie Littlefield's BAD DAY series will make your day at the beach. If Stephanie Plum had an aunt living in the Show Me State (Missouri), it would be Stella Hardesty. Stella's a younger version of Grandma Mazur and gets herself into as much trouble.

Stella and her new side-kick Chrissy Shaw are survivors of domestic violence. A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY opens with a PTSD flashback to the day a tornado took out Stella's beloved uncle. Stella and Chrissy are still recovering from the wounds sustained in a tussle with the Mob at the end of A BAD DAY FOR SORRY.

The pair, however, find themselves lusting after new men. Stella has the hots for Sheriff Goat Jones, and Chrissy charms the pants off a computer geek named Larry Klipsinger. He teaches her how to become a computer hacker.

Goat's estranged wife Brandy Truax blows back into his life like the tornado that's brewing outside, and she creates the same level of chaos and destruction.

The tornado uproots the snack shack on the county fairgrounds revealing the mummified body of a blond. Neb Donovan, a husband rehabilitated from his wife-beating ways by Stella, is the prime suspect. He was addicted to OxyContin, a hillbilly's heroin.

There are so many whacky plot twists loaded with humor and romance that I forgot the book is a who-done-it until the identity of the killer is revealed at the end. The clue was so subtle that I missed it entirely ~ my favorite kind of mystery.

The mystery within the mystery is which woman in the trio making eyes at Goat will capture his heart. He and Stella are the "yin and yang of holistic justice." He thought he was divorced from Brandy. And, ambitious co-worker Daphne Simmons is sexually harassing him.

A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY is laugh-out-loud funny as well as thought-provoking. A great read.
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Format: Hardcover
Stella Hardesty returns from the hospital after her adventures in "A Bad Day for Sorry."

She had been abused by her husband for years and ended the abuse and Ollie's life. Now, she helps other women get out of abusive situations.

She's having dinner at Sheriff "Goat" Jones' home. They have been building up to a more physical relationship and just as things are getting warm, the Sheriff's scheming, ex-wife, Brandy, arrives.

Brandy hasn't seen Goat for three years and each claims that the other never got around to signing the divorce papers so they're still legally married.

As this is transpiring, a tornado rips through town and blows over the snack shop at the demolition derby track at the fair grounds. Under the rubble is a mumified body of a woman.

Neb Donovan had been in charge of the construction and he becomes the leading suspect. His wife, Donna, hires Stella to look into clearing Neb's name. Donna had asked Stella to intervene in the past when Neb had been addicted to Oxycontin. It appeared that his recovery had gone well, until now.

This is another entertaining novel from the author. There are some laugh out loud moments and the author keeps the reader's attention as layers of the puzzle are peeled away and a possible solution is arrived at.

It is refreshing to see a female protagonist who won't be pushed around and Sara along with her new associate, Chrissy, show that they have the strength to take matters into their own hands.

Great fun.
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