What can I say about Odelia Grey? She is a sassy, plus-sized paralegal turned amateur sleuth in Sue Ann Jaffarian’s “Thugs and Kisses” which is the third novel (following “Too Big to Miss” and “The Curse of the Holy Pail”) in the Odelia Grey mystery series. In this installment, Odelia attends her 30th high-school reunion (replicated as their senior prom – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) where the class bully, Donny Oliver, is murdered. Everyone known to Donny becomes a suspect, even Odelia. Not being able to let sleeping dogs lie, she begins her own investigation despite being called a “corpse magnet” by her boyfriend Greg. In the midst of this chaos, her boss Michael Steele suddenly disappears without a trace. Knowing that this is not like him, Odelia finds herself ,with the help of her old high-school friend Sally Kipman, (who has her own grudge against Donny) investigating both of these mysteries. Are they linked? Why is everyone suddenly becoming a suspect? These and other questions make for a fast and furious read until the very end.
Ms. Jaffarian’s first person writing made Odelia Grey’s wit and sassiness fun to read (she has killer cravings for Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies). Everyone kept telling her to keep her nose out of things, but she always wants to know more. This stubbornness put her in danger with contract assassins and tangled love relationships including her own. This book kept me on the edge of my seat. The fact that she ended each chapter with a cliff-hanger made you want to keep on going to see what happens. Even though there were a lot of characters to keep track of, I loved how everything came together in the end; some tragically, some not. Enough said.
Even though Thugs and Kisses” was the third novel in the series, I found it easy to identify with the main characters. I will definitely be reading the first two books so that I can find out how Odelia became so interested in amateur sleuthing. This novel is highly recommended to those interested in a fun, suspenseful mystery. You will not be disappointed, and will become an instant fan of Odelia Grey as I am.