Review: Gone with a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West

Format: Hardcover
Pub Date: April 12, 2011
Page count: Approx 340
Publisher: Minotaur (St. Martins)
FTC: Review copy provided by Authors on the Web

I had no idea what to expect from Gone with a Handsomer Man. I had never read a thing by Michael Lee West. I do read a few mysteries now and then, but the cover of this one almost seemed very chick lit. And it's being pubbed in hardcover. Which I tend to avoid.

Wow am I glad I read this book. I read most of it on the plane ride to LA for the RT convention and earned myself some 'is she crazy?' stares for all of the chuckling I was doing. This is one hilarious book. It is outrageous, sweet, whacky, and sometimes a little bit sad. Not once was it boring, though.

I will get the cons out of the way first, so I can gush. My biggest complaint, by far, is that the characters were unevenly developed. The guys drew the short straws for sure. The women were all quirky, real, and vibrantly described. The men were wallpaper. And pretty dull wallpaper at that.

***POV Warning***
This is told in the first person. So if that bugs you, avoid. You've been warned. I happen to love 1st person as long as it is PAST tense.
***End POV Warning***
The only other major con is that the mystery isn't all that deep. Janet Evanovich blurbed it, and there is a similarity to the Plum books in that you don't read this for the whodunnit. You read for the characters and the humor. If you want to be stumped, this is not the book for you.

Now for the gushing:
This is, hands-down, the funniest, most outrageous book I've read all year. Everything from the characters to the dialogue to the outrageous situations our heroine, Teeny, finds herself in had me rolling with laughter. I loved the whole flavor of the book. The food, the streets, the interactions between the characters. It felt a bit like "caricature Southern," but I *loved* that.

In short, it was a quick, fun read that left me pining for a sequel. I will be very sad if there isn't another Teeny caper in the works. Although I hope the men are a given a little more depth of character in any follow-up adventures.

I think this an excellent match for fans of the late Anne George or Tamar Myers. If you like to laugh and don't need a really deep mystery, I think you'll get a kick out of this book.

Favorite Quote: "Charleston is shaped like a giant pecker and N. Charleston is the tight little ball sack."

**Want to try it yourself? I'm hosting a giveaway here on the blog. US/CAN only.

My Grade: A-/B+

The Blurb:

Take one out-of-work pastry chef . . .
Teeny Templeton believes that her life is finally on track. She’s getting married, she’s baking her own wedding cake, and she’s leaving her troubled past behind. And then? She finds her fiancĂ© playing naked badminton with a couple of gorgeous, skanky chicks.
Add a whole lot of trouble . . .
Needless to say, the wedding is off. Adding insult to injury, her fiancĂ© slaps a restraining order on her. When he’s found dead a few days later, all fingers point to Teeny.
And stir like crazy!
Her only hope is through an old boyfriend-turned-lawyer, the guy who broke her heart a decade ago. But dredging up the past brings more than skeletons out of the closet, and Teeny doesn’t know who she can trust. With evidence mounting and the heat turning up, Teeny must also figure out where to live, how to support herself, how to clear her name, and how to protect her heart.

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