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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.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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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.