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Sticks and Stones: A Cat DeLuca Mystery    by K. J. Larsen Amazon.com order for
Sticks and Stones
by K. J. Larsen
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Need a good laugh? And clever writing? And a feeling of joie de vivre? Something to chase away the bleak winter blues? Pick up a copy of Sticks and Stones by. K.J. Larsen.

An interesting point to mention before I get into the meat of this fun mystery; the authors are three sisters! I can only think they had a great deal of fun creating Cat DeLuca of the Pants on Fire Detective Agency and her sidekick Cleo Jones. The duo trace and expose cheating husbands.

Cleo, a free spirit, could carry the bulk of the story herself, but Cat is the main character with issues from her two year marriage with a cheater. When Cleo and Cat discover Cleo's unfaithful husband shot to death, the police put their stamp of Guilty on Cleo. Just because she had previously shot his backside full of buckshot. Go figure!

Cat sets out to prove Cleo innocent with many speed bumps along the way. Cat manages to squeeze in a few romantic interludes with her man of the month while she fends off her mother who wants grandchildren. Cat's mother can really cook, which helps to cool Cat's frustration with her mother's disdain for her business which she calls 'hootchie chasing'.

Cat's man is good in the kitchen as well as the bedroom, so her mother doesn't give up hope. Cat comes from a large Italian family. She either knows everyone in her part of the world which is a suburb of Chicago or is related to them. Sticks and Stones is a really fun book. The sisters' first book, Liar, is worth the read also.

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