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A Bad Day's Work: A Novel (A Lilly Hawkins Mystery) Paperback – August 3, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Lilly Hawkins Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Photojournalist Lilly Hawkins’ bad day begins when she maneuvers her way past a police line to shoot a murder scene. When the tape she has just shot turns out to be blank, it seems like another of the recent screwups that are threatening a potential promotion and even her job as the only TV camerawoman in Bakersfield, California. But those prospects pale when she faces bodily harm or worse at the hands of crooked cops and the vicious leader of a local gang, all of whom are after the tape. Seeking redemption, Lilly pursues the murder story, calling on her somewhat disreputable uncle Bud for help after colleagues she considered friends sell her out. Amid nonstop action, she vacillates between two potential suitors, a detective known as Handsome Homicide and telegenic reporter Rod Strong. Former Bakersfield camerawoman McFarland clearly knows her technical stuff in this first of a projected trilogy, but the convoluted plotline can be confusing, and Lilly’s repeated self-analysis gets tiring. Still, McFarland has an appealingly flawed protagonist here, and fans of Julie Kramer’s Minneapolis TV reporter, Riley Spatz, will likely take to Lilly, too. --Michele Leber

Review

"McFarland's debut, the first in a planned series, is often both amusing and touching as Lilly discovers both the truth about the murder and enough about herself to change her life." -Kirkus Reviews

"A wonderful debut novel! Action packed, with a heroine who's sure to win your heart." -Marcia Muller, New York Times bestselling author

 "This cozy mystery-with-an-edge is especially appealing because the characters are not typecast. Far from bland, their zaniness is reminiscent of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. The next installment of this excellent new series can't come soon enough." -BookPage

"McFarland, herself a former "shooter" for a Bakersfield TV station, nails the newsroom as well as her feisty, funny accidental sleuth..." -Publisher's Weekly

"Packed full of adrenaline and attitude, A BAD DAY'S WORK is a roller-coaster ride of a mystery. Don't miss it!"
—Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author of Look Again
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439155488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439155486
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,214,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This was a fun read. Since it was touted as similar to Janet Evanovich, I was expecting a quirky heroine and some humor and I was not disappointed at all. In fact, I like Lilly Hawkins better. And her Uncle Bud deserves a book of his own. He's fantastically funny. This book's pleasant surprise (except that it kept me up too late reading) was that it is a page-turner. Lilly gets herself into and out of some very sticky jams and it was hard to put it down till she finally solved the mystery. McFarland has created a series with twists, turns, action, suspense, humor and a flawed but endearing heroine that you can't help but cheer for. I will definately be reading the second Lilly Hawkins mystery.
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Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! Very entertaining with great bits of humor. It's always neat to learn something new and the detailed exposure to life in a newsroom of smaller city like Bakersfield was great. The jacket says the author also worked at CNN so I imagine it includes some experience from working with CNN's staff as well. All I can say is I got sucked into the story and stayed up late to finish "just one more chapter". I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series!
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Format: Paperback
This was such a fun read and a real page-turner. I am impressed that this is the author's first novel. I loved all the characters from Lilly to her Uncle Bud. There is suspense and humor that keeps you intrigued. I hope this is the beginning of a long series of Lilly Hawkins books.

Sharlene Moore
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Format: Paperback
Lilly Hawkins, the only female shooter for a TV station in Bakersfield, is having a string of bad luck. So when video of a murder scene she snuck behind police lines to film turns out to be blank, she just chalks it up to that. The string is getting so bad that her job is on the line, so Lilly is concerned, but she vows to be more careful next time.

Then she is visited by two men demanding the tape and saying they are willing to pay for it. Those men turn out to be crooked cops. Soon, she also has a local gang after her, too. Can Lilly figure out a way to stay one step ahead of everyone chasing her long enough to figure out what the heck is going on?

The book started out well with plenty of action, but as it progressed, I was amazed at the character development. The characters started out simple, but their layers were slowly peeled away as things progressed.

The plot is strong as well. The mystery was a tad on the simple side, but there was more than enough action to keep me turning pages. The climax was logical and very satisfying.

My only real complaint was that the character arcs seemed to end abruptly. I liked how the book left things, but it felt like something that we should have seen after two or three books and not at the end of the first one.

Really, that a minor complaint. I loved every page of this book and can't wait to read about Lilly's further adventures.
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Format: Paperback
Lilly Hawkins is a shooter--a videographer for a Bakersfield TV station--who has apparently committed a rash of unfortunate errors recently. Her latest is the worst. Her boss threatens to fire her if she can't get some footage from a murder scene, and she jeopardizes the integrity of the crime scene in order to get the shots. The precious tape, however, turns out to be blank. Certainly, her rival, David, could have it in for her and is sabotaging her work somehow. Or perhaps Rod, the smooth anchorman is duplicitous. When a couple of corrupt cops rough her up in order to get her to give them the tape, which she doesn't believe exists, she doesn't know whom to trust and turns to Uncle Bud. He's a kick--resourceful and definitely in Lilly's corner but not exactly reliable. All in all, Lilly is as transparent as glass, but she's surrounded by people who aren't always what they seem. Well, OK, gang members are usually not a good thing. The author is a friend of a friend's daughter, and my expectations were low. However, I found this book to be funny and suspenseful, with a protagonist worth rooting for. Beach season may be over for this year, but there's no reason not to enjoy this one, wrapped in a blanket in front of a fireplace.
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Format: Paperback
Review: A Bad Day's Work by Nora McFarland

Nora McFarland's first Lilly Hawkins mystery, A Bad Day's Work, is an entertaining mystery. In addition, the character development, setting, and almost classical time frame ratchet McFarland's first novel a level above many of the more popular chick lit mysteries. Once the protagonist Lilly realizes that she has unwittingly pushed her way into a physically dangerous situation, neither she nor the reader is allowed a break in the action. Lilly roars onward to save her life and her career. Readers get to ride along in the news van and Uncle Bud's land yacht, all over Bakersfield, finding clues to who committed murder, who is covering up what, and who is a trustworthy ally.
The subplot of career sabotage complicates Lilly's detective work and forces some painful self-reflection that results in personal insight and change. Lilly is as brave and honest about her own weaknesses as she is in the face of physical threats.
In fact, Lilly is as brave as Sue Ann Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, but funnier, and more likeable. She is described by one of the characters as a pit bull, and it is possibly this tenacity born of stubbornness that saves her life.
McFarland's use of setting is masterful. The reader is immediately caught up in the world of a television photographer ("a shooter") and must master the jargon and technology of the newsroom by immersion. Not since Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada has a protagonist so honestly revealed such an insular, competitive, world.
The first person point of view is perfect for a mystery, since the protagonist and the reader get the clues at the same time.
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