Whole Lotta Trouble
Whole Lotta Trouble
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Whole Lotta Trouble

Stephanie Bond
384 pages
October 2004
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars
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Whole Lotta Trouble, a romantic suspense novel by Stephanie Bond, is an entertaining and delightful read. The plot is fast-paced, well-crafted, and filled with twists, turns and surprises. Well-developed, complex characters and snappy dialogue makes this whodunit sparkle with wit and charm. Stephanie Bond delivers a tale that lives up to its promise.

Tallie Blankenship is a small-town girl who has settled in New York and spent the last nine years working as an editor for Parkbench Publishing. Her life is predictable, filled with the usual work-related problems as she struggles to advance in her career. She has a small circle of friends and acquaintances, but to her motherís everlasting dismay, no husband.

She is elated when her boss asks her to take his place and work with the companyís biggest author, Gaylord Cooper. This could be her big break and the turning point in her career. The only drawback is that Cooper is known to be an absolute eccentric who does not use computers, faxes, or even telephones. He makes only one typewritten copy of his manuscript, and his contract stipulates that no other copies can be made. To make matters even worse, Tallie has to deal with Cooperís sleazy agent, Jerry Key. Tallieís career hopes are shattered when Jerry threatens to yank the project from her unless she sleeps with him.

If thatís not bad enough, Jerry just happens to be the former lover of her best friend, Felicia Redmon. An editor with another publishing house, Felicia has her own problems with Jerry Key. Not only did he dump her, but she still has to work with him as he represents several authors with whom she works. When Felicia receives a nude photo of herself, sent anonymously through a courier, she fears that Jerry is taunting her and may even be threatening her career.

Tallieís life is crazy enough when she ends up on a blind date with the son of one of her motherís friends. She reluctantly agrees to meet Keith Wages for coffee and while they are there, he saves her from a stray bullet and captures the robber. Itís only then that she discovers that Keith Wages is a police officer. He even saves her life a second time when she accidentally runs in front of a car. Although Tallie tries to keep from becoming involved with Keith, events seem to conspire to bring them together.

But Tallie and Felicia are not the only women who are furious with Jerry. Jane Glass is an e-book editor who discovers that Jerry may have stolen material from a manuscript from one of her authors. All of these women have a vendetta against Jerry and they would all like revenge. Over drinks, the plot is hatched. The plan is to humiliate Jerry, and they pull it off without a hitch. However, the next morning they discover that Jerry is dead, and if anyone finds out what they did, all three women will be prime suspects in his murder.

Add to that a boss who has disappeared, a missing manuscript worth millions, more dead bodies, and her growing attraction for Keith, and Tallieís life is totally out of control. Sheís in a whole lotta trouble, and sheíll definitely need help to get out of it. As the mystery unfolds, things get even stranger and more dangerous than anyone could even imagine.

Stephanie Bond has created an original and entertaining novel. Quirky characters, witty dialogue, humor, and superb plotting all make this an exceptional read. Whole Lotta Trouble delivers an amusing mystery with plenty of romance sprinkled throughout. Watching Tallie shuffle her career, friendships, love life, and a murder, keeps you hooked until the final page.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Norma Collins, 2004

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