David C. Cook, Feb 1 2011, $14.99
In Casper, Ohio, luminary twenty years old Nellie Monroe is an eccentric genius whose burnt orange Afro alone would maker her a stand out in much larger Cleveland as Irish-Americans do not have curly hair like she has. However, it is her brain power that makes her an odd duck. While her parents tour golf courses everywhere, she stays home to take care of her octogenarian Nona while working for Tank at the local club. She wants to be a private investigator, is taking on line classes and has a business card with her full name of Nellie Augusta Lourdes Monroe inscribed on it. However, she also believes she will need to relocate as the divorce rate in the country hovers around fifty percent while in Casper it is under twenty-five percent.
Tank hires Amish dropout Amos Shetler. Nellie meets Amos by punching him in the stomach. Hurting, he admits she does not hit like a girl. She warns him not to sneak up on someone. A few days later he hires her to conduct surveillance on the Amish girl he considers marrying Katie and his rival John. Amos tells her no pictures just listen to what she says. Nellie brilliantly sets in motion Operation Bonnet only to alienate her BF Matt, her professor, her family, her client, the Amish community, and perhaps everyone residing in the Buckeye State.
This is an intriguing coming of age “student” investigative tale told by Nellie. Her side commentary is amusingly acerbic, but also slows down the prime exciting subplot of her going undercover causing havoc for seemingly much of Ohio and locked lips with one male hunk. Fans will enjoy Operation Bonnet as Nellie learns about people from the tsuris she caused with her first case.