Jump the Gun: An Annabelle Starkey Mystery

Poisoned Pen. Aug. 2013. 188p. ISBN 9781464201615. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464201639. $14.95. M
OrangeReviewStarAfter an exhausting book conference concludes, Annabelle Starkey, a normally reserved publicist, throws caution to the wind when handsome Mickey Paxton, a fellow movie buff, suggests a fun getaway to Las Vegas. But things go wrong almost immediately when she's kidnapped at gunpoint in Sin City. Annabelle thinks Mickey is the problem, but it turns out, she is the reason bad guys are chasing them. Clues are neatly sprinkled through the story like bread crumbs, from the older lady with the designer hat to the cab driver who's really a Las Vegas cop and on to the assisted living residence where Annabelle's late grandmother once lived. Annabelle is horrified, though, when her friend Cassie, who was cat-sitting, is murdered in Annabelle's apartment. Now she and Mickey have a serious mission, and they aren't about to let murderers run free.
VERDICT Quickly paced and so clever, Burke's debut is a winning semi-cozy caper, perfect for movie fans. She never misses a beat with her light rom-com banter, multigenerational ensemble, and sense of fun. This title makes a nice pairing with Diane Vallere's "Mad for Mod" series.

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