West Of Bliss
by Suzann Ledbetter, contemporary (2002)
MIRA, $6.50, ISBN 1-55166-925-0


I read this book strictly for closure of Suzann Ledbetter's chaotic cataractic "See me try to be the new Janet Evanovich!" West of Whacked, North of Crap, South of Batty, and East of Ewoks series (just do a search on the search engine below for the previous books in this series, I'm too lazy to list them here).

Ms Ledbetter either reads my reviews (heh heh heh) or she is a very nice woman, because I tell you, nothing warms my heart better than when a crazy f**k charges up to a party of irritating, badly-behaved old bastards and bitches in West Of Bliss and starts firing his gun on everybody. It's a good thing I'm not incontinent yet or I will need many, many diapers for that scene - I'm that ecstatic.

The humorless bitch Eulalie is dead - YES - and I'm jumping with glee too much to do a count of injured old buggers. What the heck, they'll all burn in hell for being painfully unfunny caricatures anyway. Yes, I detest them all. How did you guess?

Unfortunately, this only marshals the Geriartic Gremlins to plot a counter-investigation. A fox attacking a hen house is utopia compared to this Israeli-Palestinian cacophony of a book. Oh yes, our heroine Hannah and her man David are still angling it out after their "Hey, if Janet can do it, so can Suzann!" wedding proposal cliffhanger of the last book. They're no longer cute, and Hannah's neurotic "I can't cook, I can't be a good wife" nonsense is no longer amusing. Here, dingbat, here's the phone and call some Chinese take-out for your skeletal self and the dog catcher for the rest of "I'm old so I can behave like social nuisances!" menopausal freaks in the story.

Hilarity, or what it's supposed to be, flies fast and loose like bullets over Kashmir, often hitting the wrong targets, and precious scenes go off like Cambodian relic landmines in my face. David's police troupe seem to be doing a good job, but so often the Geriatol Googalaks intrude like marauding Huns intend on rapine and murder that it feels like a bloody warfield in here. I'm amazed I escaped with my sanity intact.

Well, that's over and done with. The series have ended... right? Right? Now hopefully Ms Ledbetter will take a break, exorcise her freaky Evanovich idol worship by doing some stalking or something, and hopefully find a decent muse in all the nirvana she will no doubt be experiencing. She has style and wit, really, but when they all break out of control, all nine hells (or more depending on your religious beliefs) break loose and it's all I can do to run for the hills.

Rating: 53


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