All the Queen's Men

A Bouquet of Babies

Cry No More

Dying to Please

A Game of Chance

Killing Time

Kiss Me While I Sleep

Mr Perfect

Now You See Her

Open Season

Strangers of the Night

To Die For

Under the Boardwalk

Drop Dead Gorgeous
by Linda Howard
(Ballantine, $7.99, R) ISBN 0-345-48658-7
Ohmigod. How cool is this? Blair Mallory is back!!! You know, the ex-cheerleader from To Die For who owns a fitness gym and is so all that with the shoes and the clothes and the hair.

There ought to be more heroines like Blair. Don’t you just hate the TSTL heroines who always check out the cemetery at midnight when a serial killer’s around? I mean, isn’t it a no-brainer to stay inside when there’s a serial killer outside???

But Blair’s the kind of heroine you can really get into. A heroine who understands the important things. Like when “the end is nigh” you go shoe shopping because you won’t be getting a credit card bill anyway. Like how you don’t schedule your wedding on a day where you aren’t going to get great anniversary presents later. (I have this friend who got married on Valentine’s Day. Now before you say, “That’s so romantic,” just think about it. That means she’s going to get one gift when if it was on another day, she’d get like two. That is so not thinking ahead.)

A smart heroine like Blair understands this stuff. She knows a wedding like on the day after Christmas is sabotaging herself. Guys don’t get it, but you’ve got to remember they think it makes sense to spend a perfectly nice weekend in a recliner in front of a TV watching a bunch of sports and drinking beer and munching pretzels when you could be out playing tennis or swimming or shopping.

Blair knows all this stuff plus she’s got her priorities straight like making sure Wyatt’s deadline gets her extra points and she’s going to take advantage of it.

See, Wyatt tells Blair she has one month to have the wedding because she’s having trouble deciding what date to pick. Wyatt is Blair’s fiancé. He’s a cop and really hot and is crazy about Blair, but he’s still got a lot to learn like about women and being married. Now this is Blair’s second marriage, and she doesn’t need a big wedding but it does have to be perfect if you know what I mean. (Blair’s first marriage didn’t work out because her husband Jason cheated on her then his second wife like tried to kill her and then Jason did too – it’s all in Blair’s first book – so it’s no wonder if she doesn’t want all that frou-frou stuff again.)

Blair’s got to get everything set quick so of course she goes shopping right away. But when she leaves the mall, a woman in a Buick tries to run her down. I mean, seriously. It wasn’t like accidental. She was aiming for Blair!

Wyatt’s all upset when Blair’s hurt. Well, he does really love her so of course he would be. But then he does a 180 and says she’s paranoid when she tells him she’s being followed. Come o-o-o-n. She’s almost been hit once and she’s getting all these creepy phone calls so you’d think he’d be like more sympathetic. OK, Blair admits she’s high maintenance, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. Right??? And while all this is going on she’s still got a wedding to arrange. And that includes getting her mother’s best friend and her husband back together after he got rid of her bedroom furniture and she tried to hit him with her car. Now that’s a heroine!!!

Just like in To Die For, the whole book is told by Blair so you can really see what she’s thinking and planning. Besides being a totally nice person who understands girl stuff and has it all together, you know, she likes her job and she loves Wyatt and her family and she’s really funny. The only problem with the book is you have to be a little patient before the mystery part kicks in, but with Blair telling the story, you don’t mind all that much.

And then at the end Blair gives her Krispy Kreme Doughnut Bread Pudding recipe with really complete directions not the skimpy ones you usually get with recipes, but if you fix it, you’d better belong to a gym because it’s got to have like a gazillion calories and you just know they’ll all head straight for the hips.

So if you read To Die For you’re really going to want to read Drop Dead Gorgeous. If you haven’t, why not??? Linda Howard’s a totally awesome author, and Blair’s just the best.

--Lesley Dunlap

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