5 Stars/ Grade A+
*Purchased Audio Book from Audible.com*
A Bad Day for Mercy is a terrific addition to this incredibly original and entertaining series. For those who haven’t yet discovered the wonder of Sophie Littlefield, it’s high time to join the fun!
This one is my favorite in the series so far. Except, I keep saying that with regard to each subsequent Stella Hardesty book that I read. But I really mean it every time I say that! I listened to the audio version of this book (again) and loved it. There are so many laugh out loud moments and brilliant “Stellaisms” and general world observations. Reading this book makes me realize that Sophie Littlefield must be such an amazing person, funny and a great mom. So in addition to be amusing and fun, the murder mystery is interesting and had me guessing. There are murder mysteries where I can guess who is the bad guy and what his motivation is at the beginning or the middle of the book. A Bad Day for Mercy is not one of those books. I was not sure who the murderer was and what their motivation was; Ms. Littlefield provides so many delightfully good options for bad guys.
In this installment, Stella hits the road and the majority of the book takes place in central Wisconsin. Ms. Littlefield writes working class midwest culture and people so well. She nails it. She doesn’t write it condescendingly and she doesn’t write it as an outside observer looking inside. Ms. Littlefield captures working class midwest life perfectly, as a participant. She knows her characters and she writes them lovingly. Stella’s characters say the best things, like this:
I’d have sold my car, my plasma, my sperm, whatever it took.
“Let’s get one thing straight here right now Chip…I am not about to have an ex-con gambler who I have known since you had braces and that unfortunate mullet passing judgment on me.”
“What are you doing here? Don’t your hoodlum pals have a date to smoke crack behind the Arco or something?” “We dun smoked it … and we also knocked over Dumphrey liquors and all got blow jobs and burned us up a flag, so you can just hold on to your lecture Stella. Its too late for saving me.”"
“I look out the window and there is the Sheriff’s cruiser pulling up in the shop parking lot.” Stella’s heart did a little skip at the news. “Sheriff Jones?” “No! Sheriff Roscoe P. Coletrain from Hazard County. Who do you think Stella?”
To Stella it beat a big box of candy and a truckload of roses. There was nothing that said I heart you like destroying evidence that could send a person to jail.
So Stella going on the road and doing her “work” in Wisconsin is just as fun as the stories that take place in Missouri. There is a little bit of romance in this book, some funny banter between Stella and Chrissie and Stella and Tucker. The characters continue to grow. Despite that this is the 4th book in the series, it is not getting old and continues to be fresh. I cannot wait for #5 in the Stella series. Badass recently interviewed Sophie Littlefield and I didn’t ask her if she was going to be writing a new Stella Hardesty and when – why didn’t I ask her??? That just means I am going to have to invite her back for another interview. *grins*
Stella is the perfect heroine. She is seasoned and has had her hardships. She is not perfect, but flawed — she likes her whiskey, she doesn’t always want to work out and she can get to judging people. But in the end Stella is understanding of other people’s position in life and she tries to help others. Like this one (and damn did Ms. Littlefield hit this observation right on the nose or what!?):
You ever think how much shit we could keep out of the landfills if we just fixed it now and then and kept on using it. Like for instance, used to be mom’s. It was built in 1969 and it works fine. But you go on over to the Hope Depot and they got them $4,000 ranges all lined up and none of them with no more than a year or two warranty. Then when they break, they tell you it is going to be cheaper to get a new one then to fix the one you have. Does that make sense to you?
Manufacture bags to haul groceries around in as if every household in America didn’t already have half a dozen gym bags, and sewing totes and advertising freebies lying around.
If you haven’t yet discovered the fun of the Stella Hardesty books I strong suggest you pick one up and read it!
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