Thugs and Kisses
Sue Ann Jaffarian
Midnight Ink, Feb 2008, $13.95, 336 pp.
Odelia Grey is a paralegal at Wallace, Boer, Brown, and Yates. Her immediate boss Michael Steele requested her and the partners thought she would be good for the hard to get along with anal-retentive obsessive attorney because she has patience and should be able to keep him grounded. They bribed her with a big pay raise and her own office.
Since her wheelchair bound lover Greg Steven is ill, she takes Detective Dev Frye as her date to her thirtieth high school reunion. While dancing with Dev, Danny Oliver is shot and killed. Everyone has a motive for killing him including Odelia and her friend Sally Kipman who lost custody of her son to him in an ugly court battle. While dealing with being a suspect, her boss Steele never returns from his mini vacation. His car is found at the airport, certain documents from a client are tampered with and he never showed up at the inn where he made reservations. Although it looks bad for Steele who some think broke the law and fled the country, Odelia knows he is too obsessed to do anything illegal. She and Sally team up to help each other locate Steele and find out who murdered Donny.
Ignoring the amateur sleuth investigating plausibility, THUGS AND KISSES is a very enjoyable reading experience. The whodunit and the missing person case are well thought out; run parallel to each other and the sequences smoothly change from one case to the other. The protagonist, a size twenty who is very comfortable with her body does what she believes is right because she has a strong sense of justice and loyalty. Obstinately she refuses to be swayed from the case by her lover, family or friends which sometime make for strained relations.