Saturday, May 23, 2009

Revenge of the Cootie Girls, by Sparkle Hayter

(hb; 1997: third book in the Robin Hudson Mystery series)

From the inside flap:

"Now that she's executive producer of Special Reports, Robin Hudson is feeling (relatively) settled. She is fairly content to be a sympathetic ear to her insane girlfriends and to be in a steady non-relationship with several sometime boyfriends (it's not too hard when none of them lives in New York all the time -- and when you fear of commitment is slightly greater than your desire for emotional security.) Okay, she's bored. In an effort to feel useful, she has taken under her wing a new intern, wide-eyed small-town girl Kathy Loblaws, and invited her along on a Girls' Night Out -- a semiregular frenzy of female bonding meant to alleviate Robin's goilfriends' love crises and her own ennui.

"It's Halloween, and Kathy doesn't show -- but telephones from a strange man's closet. Aided by her pals, Tamayo (now a full-time comic), Claire (ever the rising star), and Sally the bald witch, who has a Princeton degree and monitors everyone's karma, Robin must track down her errant charge through one long night of murder and mayhem, costumes and concealed weapons, men who are not what they seem (are they ever?), and unsettling déja vu. For Robin slowly comes to realize that the search for her missing intern is really a deadly trip into the past, fueled by an old curse."


Less a whodunit than a what's really going on here? novel, readers are treated to a half-remembered, less-than-illustrious dash down Robin's memory lane, specifically her childhood friends and enemies, and her first time visiting New York, some years before: somehow, because of mysterious somebodies, these not-so-distant elements of Robin's past may dictate whether she and her friends will survive the Halloween present.

Off-kilter and character-interesting as the first two Robin Hudson novels, this is another worthwhile read from Hayter.

Check it out.

Followed by The Last Manly Man.

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