Author: Andrea Sisco
Pub Date: July 2009, Five Star
ARC, 270 pages
When Probation Officer, Penelope (Pen) Santucci was a child, she dreamt of being a nun. She dressed in bed sheets and roller-skated regularly into the confessional of Father Daniel Kopecky. There she bared her soul, fabricating sins only a precocious eight-year-old could invent. As a twenty-seven-year-old woman, she's doing the same thing, sans the roller skates and bed sheets. Only this time, she isn't inventing stories. She's confessing her involvement in a murder; a murder she didn't commit, but one in which she is the most promising suspect.
Wisecracking, safecracking Pen lures an elderly priest and a young nun into committing felonies on their wild search for the truth. Hardly appropriate behavior for the dedicated probation officer, but while Pen believes in her job, she has little faith in the justice system. Unfortunately, Pen digs herself deeper into trouble and straight into a muddy grave, dragging her sexy attorney in with her. If they ever get out of it alive, he plans to wring her neck himself. That is, if the thugs who are after the money she found don't get her first.My Thoughts
Thanks to Bostick Communications for my ARC of A Deadly Habit.
Well, you all know how I love a good mystery, and it's even better when it happens to be a mystery that is full of humor. A Deadly Habit is Andrea Sisco's debut novel, and in my opinion it is a great start! Pen Santucci is a hilarious amateur detective, trying to clear herself of her soon-to-be-ex-husband's murder. You never know what might come out of her mouth, but chances are she would have been better off keeping it shut. Her sister, Germaine (the nun) is another great character--she lives a life devoted to God but can't resist getting involved with Pen's search for the truth. Yes, you really feel for Pen's lawyer, Marco, who is doing all he can to make sure his client isn't charged with murder, but has to be her keeper, as well. But he is determined to help Pen through this, if only due to the fact that he owes Father Daniel Kopecky a favor. I think Father Kopecky got a little more than he bargained for when Pen came to confession, though.
Yes, a great set of characters really helps to make this story work. As for the mystery itself, it's pretty well done, with just enough given to the reader to let them have a guess at figuring out who really murdered Pen's jerk of husband, Paul. The main focus is really on Pen's crazy antics to discover the truth. I also rather liked that while you sense an attraction between Marco and Pen, it's not really addressed in great detail in the book, just a few lines here and there, leaving you to wonder what may come of the pair. It's become so common to weave in romances between principle characters in suspense/mystery books these days, it was refreshing to be left hanging about that this time around.
While I normally prefer books to be written from a third person point of view, the fact that A Deadly Habit was written entirely from Pen's point of view did not really hurt the book. It actually gives further insight into Pen's character and why she is the way she is. (Hmmm, did I mention her crazy mother??) Overall, the writing is generally easy to read, if a bit choppy at times--to me that is easily overlooked and did not hamper my enjoyment of the story.
If you enjoy mysteries or are looking for a book to give you a few laughs, I'd recommend checking out A Deadly Habit, due out this month. For a sneak peak, you can even read the first chapter here. And an additional note from Andrea herself--she loves talking with book clubs, so if you have any interest in having Andrea visit your book club (via phone or in person) please visit her web site and drop her a note!