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One Dead, Two to Go (An Eddie Shoes Mystery) Paperback – April 15, 2016
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"One Dead, Two To Go is smart, page-turning fun, with the most feisty and likable P.I. since Kinsey Millhone. Looking for your next favorite detective series? Look no further."
--Deb Caletti, National Book Award finalist and author of He's Gone
"Private eye Eddie Shoes and her cardsharp mother plunge the reader into a tale of fractured relationships, mayhem, and thrills. I look forward to the next Eddie Shoes adventure!"
--Deborah Turrell Atkinson, author of the Storm Kayama Mysteries
"The writing is cinematic and vivid, the characters well-drawn, but the dynamic between Eddie and Chava, which reminded me fondly of Cagney and Lacey, is what makes the story. Fans of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich should definitely check out One Dead, Two to Go. Recommended."
--Max Everhart, author of the Eli Sharpe Mystery series
"Unlike the standard-issue PI, Eddie seems allergic to guns and violence and worries about a bad haircut as much as the stalking danger. Funny, clever, and full of grabbing plot twists....This is a fast, memorable and entertaining read. Warning: you'll want more."
--Scott Driscoll, author of Better You Go Home
"Mystery, murder and mayhem collide in this intriguing new series! An original, well written gum-shoe, readers will find an easy ebb and flow of sequences with just enough mystery to keep them guessing. From their strained past to their bumbling investigation skills, this quirky combination of a mother-daughter reunion turned crime-fighting duo will captivate readers.... Avid Alphabet series connoisseurs should flock to this kick-off series."
--Roberta Gordon for InD'Tale Magazine
About the Author
ELENA HARTWELL's writing career began in the theater, where she also worked as a director, designer, producer, and educator. Productions of her scripts have been performed around the U.S. and abroad, with some of her plays available through Indie Theater Now and New York Theatre Experience, Inc. She lives in North Bend, Washington, with her husband. For more information, go to elenahartwell.com.
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One Dead, Two to Go is a great first entry into what I hope will be a long-running series. This well-written story kept me engaged from beginning to end. The author threw in some twists and turns that kept the reader guessing. Eddie is a very likable lead. She is smart and has good instincts. Much to Eddie’s dismay, Chava’s unusual skill set makes her very handy to have around. The author did a good job fleshing out these two characters.
I really enjoyed this debut. I’m looking forward to the next book. Can’t wait to see what’s up next for Eddie. If you give this book a try, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!
Want a sample of Hartwell’s original hard-hitting prose, through the first-person thoughts of her protagonist? Glance over these:
● "I realized getting rid of her might take an act of God—a being I didn’t have on speed dial these days."
● "The sign in the window read ‘Tarot,’ but I had a feeling the young women who came and went there didn’t actually read cards so much as provide happy endings. I guess good fortune was all in how you thought about it."
● "Chance was careful with his words, as if they were valuable and he might accidentally drop one he couldn’t afford to lose."
● "I left the door open for them to fill in the blank, but neither one stepped over the threshold."
Not only does Hartwell depict Shoes methodically unweaving a tangled skein of murder, extortion, and deception, but she does so with a cast of fully-developed and unique characters, urging readers into a page-turning fury with cliff-hanging moments at the end of nearly every chapter. (Just this morning I started the book and couldn’t put it down til I finished it, along with four coffees and an entire box of cinnamon rolls.)
How can a young author leap so adroitly, so authoritatively, so arrestingly into such a well-established tradition in American fiction? Because she’s paid her dues at many levels of the literary and theatrical business; any doubters need only check her website credentials.
To top it off, at book’s end I’ve never encountered such a complex set of surprises, each nonetheless inevitable and, in retrospect, perfectly foreshadowed.
Clearly Hartwell has created in Eddie Shoes a solid, captivating, classical character (two, actually, counting her fascinating unexpected assistant whom I won’t name) who can confront many future mysteries with which to delight her readers. I hope she employs numbers to launch each book instead of Sue Grafton’s alphabet; that way the author won’t be tempted to stop when she reaches twenty-six.
Start with one-part splendiferously sexy name, Eddie Shoes (a woman—of course). Add two parts cardshark/mother figure on the lam from Las Vegas. Add three twists of sputtering old romantic flame, soggy life-saving doggy, and Italian Mafiosi at Indian casino. Sprinkle in a murder or two. Lightly stir in the ghost of Freud and Raymond Chandler. Shake with sass, verve, and intelligent chutzpah. And serve very Washington wet.
Eddie Shoes is the perfect imperfect woman—and PI. She’s constantly in on her own joke, which makes us insiders to the inside of a joke until we realize we’ve been politely duped by a crafty craftsmen of a writer named Elena Hartwell. And we love her, and Eddie Shoes, for having yanked our chain with such silky deception.
Oh, Eddie/Elena—please don’t stop. You’ve got me hooked, snooked, and ready for another long and lovely rain-drenched mystery-reading night from the pitch-perfect pavement-pounding Eddie Shoes. I can’t wait!
I'd recommend this book to fans of PIs, well-rounded female main characters, and twists and turns you don't see coming!