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A bad day for sorry

by Sophie Littlefield

Publishers Weekly Littlefield's amusing, sassy debut introduces Stella Hardesty, a widow and survivor of domestic violence, who owns a sewing shop in a sleepy Missouri town. On the side, Stella solves problems and metes out justice on behalf of battered women, like Chrissy Shaw, whose abusive bully of an ex-husband, Roy Dean Shaw, Stella keeps tabs on. After Roy Dean absconds with Chrissy's baby, Stella learns he's involved with local mobsters in a stolen auto parts ring. Chrissy sheds her victimhood to team up with Stella and do battle. After girding up their weaponry, the unlikely crime-fighting duo trick their way into the home of Roy Dean's mob boss, who they suspect has Chrissy's son. Stella discovers that no amount of preparation and righteous anger can prevail over pure evil, at least not without loads of trouble. Spunky, unapologetically middle-aged and a tad cantankerous, Stella barges bravely and often unwisely into danger. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Stella Hardesty's sideline business delivering justice to men who abuse women has earned her a reputation far beyond her home in rural Prosper, Missouri. By day she's the sole operator of Hardesty Sewing Machine Sales & Repair, started with her wife-beater husband, Ollie, before he died (after his head connected with the wrench in Stella's hand). When Roy Dean Shaw gets a very pointed warning from handgun-toting Stella to stay away from Chrissy, the wife he beats, Stella's job seems to be done until someone takes off with Chrissy's 18-month-old son. Stella's concern for the missing child is great enough to involve Sheriff Goat Jones in the case, but not before launching her own clandestine and well-armed search, along with a newly fierce Chrissy. Ass-whuppin' 50-year-old Stella is nothing if not inventive, from using high-quality sexual restraints on abusers to going toe to toe with some very bad Mafia types; she's ably backed up by Goat, a divorcee who sends Stella sexual vibes and winks at her vigilantism. Littlefield puts a new spin on middle-age sleuths in this rollicking, rip-roaring debut.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2009 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus Renegade justice takes a turn when a domestic-violence case becomes a kidnapping. Stella Hardesty is no lady. She owns a small sewing shop in the depths of Missouri, but she's also got a side job delivering her own special brand of justice to dealers of domestic violence. It's her way of giving back after a life with Ollie, her own death-do-us-part abuser. Having disposed of him years ago, she's managed to keep this little domestic secret and her side job from the watchful eyes of Sheriff Goat Jones. Too bad, too, because she wouldn't mind spending a little more time in the gaze of those eyes. Stella's got a routine down pat: five days a week peddling sewing goods to old ladies, the other two for extracurriculars. When she spots poor Chrissy Shaw, who suffers regularly at the hands of her loser husband Roy Dean, Stella makes a quick visit to Roy Dean and thinks she's taken care of the situation. But then Chrissy's two-year-old son Tucker disappears, with Roy Dean the obvious suspect. Preliminary investigations suggest that the story is far more complex than Stella ever imagined. In addition, Chrissy's quite a bit tougher than Stella figured. Will the two be able to team up and figure out where Tucker's stashed while staying under Goat's radar? First-timer Littlefield creates characters with just the right quirks who charm even in the face of unrealistic plot turns. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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