By Gemma Halliday. High Heels Mysteries #2. Grade C
L.A. shoe designer Maddie Springer hasn’t seen her father since he reportedly ran off to Las Vegas with a showgirl named Lola. So she’s shocked when he leaves a desperate plea for help on her answering machine – ending in a loud bang. Gunshot? Car backfire? Never one to leave her curiosity unsatisfied, Maddie straps on her stilettos and, along with her trigger-happy best friend, makes tracks for Sin City in search of her MIA dad.
Maddie hits the jackpot, all right. She finds not only her dad, but also a handful of aging drag queens, an organized crime ring smuggling fake Prada pumps, and one relentless killer. Plus, it seems the LAPD’s sexiest cop is doing a little Vegas moonlighting of his own. In a town where odds are everything, Maddie bets it all on her ability to out-step a vicious murderer. She just hopes her gamble pays off… before her own luck runs out.
Second in the line of the ‘High Heels Mysteries’ series, ‘Killer in High Heels’ by Gemma Halliday revolves around Maddie Springer’s adventurous wild run to find her dad in Vegas.
The story begins with a typical site faced by many. ‘Guy promised to call. Girl waits. Guy doesn’t call. Girl devours cookies, chocolates, and ice cream for comfort. Then Girl resolves to burn all the calories. And then the never-ending battle between a tub of ice cream and 40 pounds dumbbells starts!’
LA shoe designer, Maddie, is easing her abstinence-crazy hormones and bouts of anxiousness by Binge Eating. Two reasons brought this on: A) lack of action between the sheets B) (PRIMARILY) Ramirez’s (Hot Detective) disappearing act after a steamy foreplay that was cut short last summer. And Dana (Maddie’s best friend) is trying to knock some sense into Maddie by pushing her to work out. The plot takes a dramatic turn when out of the blue Maddie receives a SOS call from her dad, which ends with a loud noise that is eerily similar to a gun shot. This ‘Dad’ had left her and her mother many years back and allegedly flew away to Vegas with a showgirl, Lola. While on one end she is angry/curious about her dad, on the other she is genuinely worried about the gunshot-like sound. So, despite the evident danger and cautious subtle and not-so-subtle warnings given by others, Maddie packs her bags and heads to Las Vegas with two friends (Dana and Marco) in tow.
There, she indeed finds her dad, very much alive! But not just her Dad, she ends up finding and running into a whole bunch of other people. Like the mafia, drag queens and the one person she never expected to bump into. Result? A chain of goof ups, chase, hits and misses.
Not for a literary snobs or literature lovers, the language used is pretty basic, simple and casual. The jokes are funny in the beginning but progress to become repetitive and stereotypical (yes, throw in all the blondes, sexist pj’s). Sometimes you aren’t even sure whether you’re really laughing at the jokes or the absurdity of it all. What works is that no matter what, you won’t feel like abandoning the book. I continued to read it just to see what more twists will be introduced by the writer, how liberally ‘co-incidences’ will be used and how she manages to justify all the bizarre events by the end.
The central character of Maddie is infuriating, over-the-top and too dramatic. She loves to probe, intrude and poke her nose in everybody’s business. She is someone who deliberately puts herself in a messy situation and then wonders ‘why me?’ So much so, that I felt bad for Ramirez as he is stuck with a girlfriend who doesn’t pay any heed to warnings and who he ends up rescuing all the time. But if cute-but-clumsy-oops damsel in distress work for you, then oh well. You can enjoy the book only if you don’t go looking for logic and practicality in the plot. Characters, twists and turns enter as per the writer’s convenience. And dare you ask how and why!
A quick read while travelling or just when you are bored or when you can’t handle something heavy. Best suited for pre-teens or those who love chick-lit.