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            This Pen for Hire
            By: Laura Levine
            Mystery
            Review Posted By: Carrie Byrd
            Review Posted: August 13, 2003

            Laura Levine owes me time. Roughly five hours, to be exact. That’s how long it took me to read this book, and all of it was wasted time. The world did not need another whiny, single, bad-divorce surviving, worrying about her thighs non-heroine. In other words, it’s been done, and it’s been done better.

            The most interesting part of the book is…wait…it’s when…it’s the part where…right. There is no most interesting part. This is a dull, predictable trip to the realm of the cozy mystery. Jaine “my mom can’t spell” Austen is selfish and uninteresting. How many times must one hear about her neighbor, Lance before you finally get the point that he has extra-sensitive hearing and is a crank? Too many. The same with her man hungry, ditzy friend Kandi (no, I’m not making this up) and Cameron, who since he actually bathes, is apparently gay. The attempts to give Jaine (and I cringe each time I see the spelling) a set of clever catch phrases mostly resulted in giving me a headache.

            The characters are so stereotyped as to be offensive. Unless her goal is to set feminism back several decades Laura Levine needs to update her female characters – and fast. They simper over every semi-good looking man, try outlandish ways to catch men, worry more about men than say…who is trying to kill them, and so on and so on into infinity. Newsflash – men are nice. Men are great. Men are fun. Men are not the one thing all women live for.

            This book was so predictable that it hurt. By chapter seven, I had the bad guy pinned. Everything in between was a blatant and failed attempted to throw the reader off the trail; combined with foreshadowing and hints so broad they couldn’t fit through a door. I think Levine might have brain damage. Or that this book might have given me brain damage. I’m not sure. The only interesting part of the book was the fact that Jaine, the (single, old maid, doomed to be alone) woman, had a cat named Prozac. I thought it was a cute name for a cat.

            Yeah, that’s right. The best part was the cat’s name. Frankly, the book was a loss. Since I just told you the only semi-interesting thing to happen, you are now free to skip the whole book.