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Dating Dead Men

by Harley Jane Kozak

Publishers Weekly Even Stephanie Plum's antics will seem sedate after readers make the acquaintance of Los Angeles's own Wollie Shelley, greeting card designer and small business owner. Wollie is dating 40 men in 60 days as part of a research project for a bestselling radio personality; the $5,000 fee could help her struggling store, "Wollie's Welcome! Greetings." In particular, Wollie's worried about inspections from national headquarters, who want to ensure that her franchise is up to standard. Her already full plate gets loaded up further when her paranoid schizophrenic brother, P.B., who resides at a mental hospital called Rio Pescado, phones to tell her he's witnessed a murder. The last thing Wollie wants is to call the police, so she dashes off to Rio Pescado. On the way she finds a dead body. At the hospital she picks up a charismatic stranger, "Doc," who's on the run, and Wollie can't help getting herself mixed up in his troubles as well. Juggling dates, avoiding the bad guys on Doc's trail, trying to keep her store up to snuff and figuring out what to feed the ferret Doc left in her care have Wollie hopping at a pace reminiscent of the best 1930s screwball film comedies. Kozak has struck gold first time out with a wacky, high-octane plot and characters to match. Agent, Amy Schiffman. (Jan. 20) Forecast: As an actress whose screen credits include Parenthood and When Harry Met Sally, Kozak is in a good position to promote this first novel, especially on the West Coast. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Poor Wollie Shelley. She's desperately trying to make sure her card store, Wollie's Welcome, will stay in business. It figures her schizophrenic brother, P. B., would call while the store inspector was visiting and claim he's witnessed a murder. Wollie drives to the hospital where P. B. is, and sure enough, she stumbles across a dead body. She also runs into a man disguised as a doctor, who uses her to help him escape from the hospital. Only after they've eluded hospital security does Doc mention he's being pursued by the Mafia, although he won't say why. Wollie wants to help him, but his problems are starting to take over her life. She still has the store, and she's also participating in a dating program run by a radio personality, but it's hard for Wollie to focus on the men she's going out with when the Mafia is dogging her every move. Worse yet, she might actually be falling for Doc.ozak's debut is a lively, funny romp for fans of lighthearted mysteries. --Kristine Huntley Copyright 2003 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Actually, greeting-card artist Wollie Shelley is dating 40 live men in 60 days to help a celebrated talk-show host research her next book. But when Wollie encounters one very dead man and a putative doctor trying to escape the Mob, the fun begins to fly. Actor Kozak seems to be making a cinematic debut. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal All greeting card artist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wants to do is get the status of her franchise card shop upgraded, go out on dates, and take care of her institutionalized paranoid schizophrenic brother, P.B. But life for Wollie isn't as simple as it appears. Corporate spies could appear at any moment. Her social life is dictated by a research project for a radio celebrity psychotherapist who's paying Wollie to date 40 men in 60 days. And her brother has called to tell her that there's been a murder at his mental hospital. To top it all off, Wollie has finally met the man of her dreams, but he's on the run from gangsters and the law, and may or may not be involved in a killing. There's never a dull moment in this rollicking caper, an exuberant, fun-filled roller-coaster ride worthy of Stephanie Plum. Kozak, a talented actress who's appeared in such films as Parenthood and When Harry Met Sally, will inevitably be compared favorably to Janet Evanovich-Kozak's humor, voice, and pacing is quite similar. This incredible debut novel is the first in a series of dating mysteries, and libraries of all sizes will want it for their collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/03.]-Shelley Mosley, Glendale P.L., AZ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.