The Brush Off
Shane Maloney
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Buy *The Brush Off: A Murray Whelan Mystery* online

The Brush Off: A Hair-Raising Mystery
Laura Bradley
400 pages
April 2004
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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When San Antonio’s hair salon king Ricardo is murdered with a hair pick, the police naturally suspect Reyn Marten Sawyer, owner of said pick. Excitable, grumpy and mouthy hairdresser Reyn is no killer and was once a protégé of sorts of Ricardo. She determinedly decides to find the murderer herself, relying on her client list, penchant for gossip and inherent nosiness to offset her lack of experience. Bad back and all, Reyn and her Watson-like sidekick Trudy set off exploring Ricardo’s past, traversing both the upper and lower classes of San Antonio society in a relentless quest for truth.

Sexy detective Jackson Scythe is angered and even somewhat exasperated at this unnatural but highly effective behavior from his prime suspect. Unable to decide whether or not to believe her protestations of innocence, Scythe firmly dogs Reyn footsteps even as she tries to elude him and discovers clues and suspects at every turn. This garners her a lot of attention, not just from the hot cop but also from the true murderer, who then decides to off Reyn. Can the brash hairstylist solve this hair-raising mystery before she herself becomes a victim?

Laura Bradley’s outrageous and humorous amateur-sleuth murder mystery is the first in a promising and thrilling new series starring intrepid hairstylist Reyn Marten Sawyer, who talks her way in and out of many a hairy situation and somehow solves a complex mystery in the process. Humor is an integral part of the story as the sarcastic and witty Reyn lets loose with choice comments and critiques, whether alone or in the presence of others. Even the disapproving but dead-sexy Scythe is unable to stem the relentless flow of words from this sagacious and wisecracking stylist. With plenty of suspects and an equal number of motives, the story retains mystery until the very end, and there is an element of surprise at every new development. In all, The Brush-Off makes for enjoyable reading with its ideal mix of sexual tension and who-dun-it suspense along with a never-say-die detective wannabe in Reyn.

Note: Coming in Fall 2004, the next book in this series, Sprayed Stiff.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Rashmi Srinivas, 2004

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