Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Long Live Rose Strickland!!
Diners, Dives and Dead Ends
Terri L. Austin
Last Diner Standing
Terri L. Austin
I really don't remember how I ran across Diners, Dives and Dead Ends. I was probably trolling for something light and funny to download to my kindle and it sounded like the very thing. The price was right so I downloaded and enjoyed every word. Now I am a big fan of Rose Strickland and Terri L. Austin.
Rose is a 24 year-old waitress working at Ma's Diner and attending the local community college. She has been drifting for a while, much to her wealthy and socially prominent family's dismay. Never mind that the same family kicked her out and quit supporting her when she refused to return to the hoity-toity women's college that her parents insisted she attend. Rose may not be doing well financially, but at least she has a wide circle of friends and has a life that she has control of. Sort of.
Diners, Dives and Dead Ends introduces Rose and her motley crew of co-workers at Ma's. There is Ma herself, feisty octogenarian; her son, Ray, the monosyllabic and downtrodden cook; and Roxy, fashion-challenged, blue-haired ex-juvenile delinquent fellow waitress. These folks are not the cream of society but they are Rose's friends and she is fiercely loyal. When her best friend, Ax, computer geek and stoner, leaves his backpack with her and promptly disappears, Rose is on a mission. Even if no one else cares, Rose is going to find Ax. In the course of her investigation Rose meets Sullivan, handsome criminal mastermind. Sullivan is definitely a bad boy, but he seems to have a soft spot for Rose (and she for him). Rose is confronted with life-threatening danger during her search for Ax and prevails but at a great cost to her peace of mind.
Last Diner Standing finds Rose still suffering the effects of her first investigation. But when another friend from community college, Janelle Johnson, is accused of attacking her ex-husband, "Asshat", and leaving him comatose it's Rose to the rescue again. She knows there is no way that Janelle is guilty and that Janelle's small children need their mother. Sullivan becomes involved when Rose asks him to bail Janelle out. Rose discovers that someone has been keeping Sullivan under surveillance and there is a hit out on him. Added to all that drama is Ma going to war against a competitor for the local lunch business.
Both of the books are filled to the brim with colorful and well-realized characters. Strippers, cops, gangsters and street people are all vivid figures. But it's Rose that I like so much, a good and loyal friend to all. She has the ability to see the good in almost any one. Sullivan is a bad guy, but we don't know how bad exactly. He is always supportive to Rose, though, and I have to hope that he isn't all THAT bad. No doubt we will find out in future books in the series. (I'm thinking Roarke here!)
The Rose Strickland Mysteries are highly recommended well-plotted and fun, quick reads. Stephanie Plum fans should also enjoy Rose and her adventures.
RATING 4.5 Chef's hats