I m crazy about Laura Levine s mystery series Her books are so outrageously funny Joanne FlukeSmarmy personals ads Daring declarations of love Freelance writer Jaine Austen has penned them all But no one needs her help than geeky, gawky Howard Murdoch His request is simple enough a letter proclaiming his undying love for Stacy Lawrence, a gorgeous aerobics instructor The fact that he s never actually met the woman gives Jaine pause yet she soon overcomes her misgivings, and the unlikely Romeo lands a date But his triumph is short lived On Valentine s Day, Howard finds Stacy bludgeoned to death with a Thigh Master and is quickly named the prime suspectJaine is shocked Sure, Howard s awkward and eccentric But a murderer That s hard to believe Especially after a little sleuthing reveals a plethora of people who harbored less than loving feelings towards the svelte Stacy Now Jaine had better wrangle her clues quickly, before a crafty killer catches on and puts a whole new spin on her ghost writing career Sheer fun Carolyn Hart


10 thoughts on “This Pen for Hire

  1. Jennie Jennie says:

    If I weren t sitting here writing a review of this book, I probably wouldn t even remember I read it this time next year This piece of fluff is a book I found in the kitchen at my office and when I read Laura Levine s biography notes, I was immediately curious Ms Levine s t.v credits including writing for The Bob Newhart Show, Three s Company and Laverne and Shirley, to name a few Wondering how a sitcom writer would fare as a mystery novelist, I read this book over the course of four lunch If I weren t sitting here writing a review of this book, I probably wouldn t even remember I read it this time next year This piece of fluff is a book I found in the kitchen at my office and when I read Laura Levine s biography notes, I was immediately curious Ms Levine s t.v credits including writing for The Bob Newhart Show, Three s Company and Laverne and Shirley, to name a few Wondering how a sitcom writer would fare as a mystery novelist, I read this book over the course of four lunch breaks The truth It wasn t bad and even had a twist that surprised me Where it fell apart for me was in the main character, Jaine Austen Jaine is a 30 something divorced woman whose jobs including ghost writing letters for clients and teaching a memoir writing class at a senior center When she writes a love letter for a man who is later accused of murder, her curiosity gets the better of her and she tries to figure out who really committed the crime It s a decent set up but my problem with Jaine is that Levine s descriptions of her insecurities are over the top Jaine comes off as being shallow, self absorbed and quite frankly like a one dimensional sitcom character Granted, that type of character was Levine s stock in trade when she wrote for t.v but I m not certain it works for a novel, regardless of how fluffy the novel is supposed to be


  2. Amy Amy says:

    The minute the heroine explained her name was Jaine Austen because her mother loved Jane Austen but couldn t spell, I knew this wasn t a mystery for me I think I actually groaned But I waited months for this one so I figured should at least finish it Unfortunately, it did not improve much Guessed the murderer though admittedly not the motive immediately and spent the rest of the book bored Jaine likes eating, mocking skinny people, and drinking margaritas Oh, and whining about her lack The minute the heroine explained her name was Jaine Austen because her mother loved Jane Austen but couldn t spell, I knew this wasn t a mystery for me I think I actually groaned But I waited months for this one so I figured should at least finish it Unfortunately, it did not improve much Guessed the murderer though admittedly not the motive immediately and spent the rest of the book bored Jaine likes eating, mocking skinny people, and drinking margaritas Oh, and whining about her lack of love life Her motivation for solving the mystery made no sense Some potential here but I fail to see what makes this one such a popular cozy mystery


  3. Jacob Proffitt Jacob Proffitt says:

    I was sad to find myself unable to enjoy this As protagonists go, I was kind of looking forward to a gun for hire writer type who stumbled into mystery situations Sadly, I just wasn t engaged by this story.Most of that is on Jane the protagonist She s kind of prickly,obsequious than nice, and kind of an idiot She came off as a caricature of her premise and that just didn t do it for me.It didn t help that Levine took the stereotype as an easy out every chance she got well, in the fi I was sad to find myself unable to enjoy this As protagonists go, I was kind of looking forward to a gun for hire writer type who stumbled into mystery situations Sadly, I just wasn t engaged by this story.Most of that is on Jane the protagonist She s kind of prickly,obsequious than nice, and kind of an idiot She came off as a caricature of her premise and that just didn t do it for me.It didn t help that Levine took the stereotype as an easy out every chance she got well, in the first six chapters, anyway From the lecherous old student in her volunteer class to the arresting officer in the central mystery, there wasn t a single element that stepped outside of what you d get if it were written by a committee And that happened over and over again.I was sad this didn t pan out, as it s a longish series that I thought had potential


  4. Philip Philip says:

    Reading on the train is not usually a problem, except when you are chuckling out loud and people are wondering what s wrong with you Laura Levine s book is a most amusing mystery filled with lots of funny one liners The mystery is good and the book just lets you delve into Jaine s world It is worth the read.


  5. Luffy Luffy says:

    From the very start to the last sentence, This Pen For Hire kept me on my toes It was flawless overall I cannot praise this book highly enough I m usually very careful with my rating system and all the books that get a perfect score need to go that extra mile to get 5 stars The pacing was wonderful in This Pen For Hire There was no surplus padding, only lean muscle through and through I could understand most of the jokes The latter dried up after halfway through but by then things were g From the very start to the last sentence, This Pen For Hire kept me on my toes It was flawless overall I cannot praise this book highly enough I m usually very careful with my rating system and all the books that get a perfect score need to go that extra mile to get 5 stars The pacing was wonderful in This Pen For Hire There was no surplus padding, only lean muscle through and through I could understand most of the jokes The latter dried up after halfway through but by then things were getting serious anyway The only person I suspected turned out to be the culprit and I still was shocked Wonderful book, can t stress that enough I can t imagine how the second book in the series is going to live up to the first The only predictable thing would be that the showdown will certainly have to occur at any place other than Jaine s house because of Lance s x ray hearing No unread book is guaranteed to be good and I do hope against hope that the series would find a new follower in me and make of me a lifelong fan of Laura Levine


  6. Marguerite Kaye Marguerite Kaye says:

    I really enjoyed this It was fun, fast and witty I had never heard of Jaine Austen, the PI writer in it, until I saw a review of a later book on SuperWendy s blog, and I m really pleased to have discovered a whole new series I read this in two gulps It doesn t matter that I guessed whodunit, that wasn t the point Fave line He claimed he was writing the great America novel, it turned out to be the great American paragraph So pleased to have found Jaine, and I know it won t be long befor I really enjoyed this It was fun, fast and witty I had never heard of Jaine Austen, the PI writer in it, until I saw a review of a later book on SuperWendy s blog, and I m really pleased to have discovered a whole new series I read this in two gulps It doesn t matter that I guessed whodunit, that wasn t the point Fave line He claimed he was writing the great America novel, it turned out to be the great American paragraph So pleased to have found Jaine, and I know it won t be long before I read the next one


  7. Denise Rodgers Denise Rodgers says:

    I am currently reading this book for the second time the advantage of having all my books on my Nook The voice of the main character is engaging and self deprecating, but not to the point of being annoying This is the book where we meet Jaine Austin, freelance writer for hire She becomes involved in a murder mystery when one of her particularly pathetic clients is accused of murder He hired Jaine to write a letter to get him a date and said date is found bludgeoned to death with her thig I am currently reading this book for the second time the advantage of having all my books on my Nook The voice of the main character is engaging and self deprecating, but not to the point of being annoying This is the book where we meet Jaine Austin, freelance writer for hire She becomes involved in a murder mystery when one of her particularly pathetic clients is accused of murder He hired Jaine to write a letter to get him a date and said date is found bludgeoned to death with her thigh master, and the poor dateless client is found on the scene Jaine is convinced of his innocence While we want to know who dunnit, that is not entirely the point It is fun to get into the head of the main character, Jaine, as she pushes beyond her usual boundaries and gets involved in a murder investigation The book isof a fun romp than a serious exercise in literature But that is the point, I believe, and Laura Levine gives us a fun romp indeed


  8. Tina Tina says:

    First time reader of this author I enjoyed it Prozac reminds me so much of my cat I m going to read the other books


  9. Veronica Veronica says:

    A screwball, humorous, and light cozy mystery.


  10. Kevin Kevin says:

    I love Jaine Austen her mother is an Anglophile, and a bad speller , she s funny, smart, a smart ass and a writer The setting is great, L.A and it feels like L.A.A famous philosopher either Aristotle or Judith Krantz, I forget who once said about being a woman in Los Angeles If you re blonde and beautiful, you re interchangeable If you re not, you re invisible Jaine quotes that immortal character But in the words of that wise old philosopher, Bullwinkle J Moose, things aren t alway I love Jaine Austen her mother is an Anglophile, and a bad speller , she s funny, smart, a smart ass and a writer The setting is great, L.A and it feels like L.A.A famous philosopher either Aristotle or Judith Krantz, I forget who once said about being a woman in Los Angeles If you re blonde and beautiful, you re interchangeable If you re not, you re invisible Jaine quotes that immortal character But in the words of that wise old philosopher, Bullwinkle J Moose, things aren t always what they seem in Frostbite Falls and with all the jokes and wisecracks she solves the case because as I mentioned before Jaine is smart.Jaine also has a wonderful cat named Prozac So I grabbed her cat carrier from the hall closet Which was, of course, a fatal mistake The minute she saw it, she undoubtedly thought, Uh oh, another trip to that irritating veterinarian who keeps sticking thermometers up my butt Thanks to a great review from Luffy one of my goodreads friends I decide to give this rather low rated book a chance Thanks so much Luffy it s just as good as you said it was.Cozies Reading Challenge