Monday, June 17, 2013

A Perfect 10:

DEATH, TAXES, AND HOT PINK LEG WARMERS – Diane Kelly
A Perfect 10
A Tara Holloway Novel
St. Martin's
ISBN: 978-1-250-02307-0
June 2013
Mystery

Dallas, Texas – Present Day

Her bosses at the IRS might not like her shooting her gun, but special agent Tara Holloway can justify her actions as it was necessary. However, she hopes her latest cases won't require her using a gun. First up is a mortgage fraud trial that requires the IRS to review the documents to determine what other illegal crimes the bad guys committed and to prepare their testimony for the prosecution. The four indicted men quickly start pointing their fingers at each other, so it's up to Tara and her partner, Eddie, to try and get to the bottom of things. Seems easy enough, but it's like wading through a deep pile of wet toilet paper. It can get mucky and fall apart.

Meanwhile, Tara is also assigned to go undercover in a strip club to determine what illegal activity the owner is up to. This is one assignment where Tara's accounting background comes in handy—especially since she doesn't have the “goods” upfront to shimmy against the stripping pole. Tara has to get access to the club's financial records to determine if there is money-laundering or drug dealing involved. The owner is a bastard, but she soon has sympathy for the folks working there. Will she get the lowdown on the badass club owner?

Joining Tara in the undercover sting is Nick, a fellow agent she has the hots for, but due to a promise from the guy she just broke up with, Brett, that she wait a month to see if she and Brett still have feelings for each other. Tara is horny and can't wait until the month is up. It doesn't help that Nick and Tara do a lot of heavy petting, just enough to whet their appetite. Will she make it to the deadline without tearing off Nick's clothes? Will she avoid using her gun in either of her current assignments? Neither might just not happen…

After having read the Tara Holloway novels over the past couple of years, I have to proclaim Diane Kelly's sharp shooting Tara as one of my favorite heroines. Tara is smart, savvy and innovative—and knows how to get out of trouble when she's cornered. What seems like a simple case of investigating the mortgage fraudsters soon turns into an intriguing paper trail that accentuates Tara's deep digging skills when it comes to math figures. Sitting in the trial day after day allows her to observe not only the bad guys, but the jurors. It almost makes me want to head to court and volunteer as a juror. Almost.

But the most enjoyable part of DEATH, TAXES, AND HOT PINK LEG WARMERS has to be Tara's undercover gig at the strip joint. Those ladies swinging the tassels and shimmying up and down the pole are not just faceless bimbos. They're real people who have their various reasons for stripping. Of course, Tara and the rest of her undercover crew are there to find out if the owner is up to no good, and when she nearly brings him down single-handedly, readers will let out a loud whoop to cheer her on. Yeah, Tara is one fun agent to have on the good guy's side.

One word of warning, though, to readers of DEATH, TAXES, AND HOT PINK LEG WARMERS: do not read in public or people will wonder why you're laughing out loud. Oh my. Tara's sharp mind, sharp wit, and sharp skills are brought to life under the topnotch writing of Diane Kelly. When a book is fun to read, it definitely ends up on my keeper shelf. This is why DEATH, TAXES, AND HOT PINK LEG WARMERS deserves a Perfect 10 from Romance Reviews Today. Grab this one on your next book shopping trip. In fact, why not get the whole Tara Holloway series and be ready for some fun reading. This series will make you laugh and keep you thoroughly entertained from the very beginning.

Patti Fischer

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