Review: An Affair to Dismember by Elise Sax

An Affair to Dismember by Elise Sax (The Matchmaker #1)
Contemporary Romance
January 29, 2013
Ballantine

Reviewed by May

Favorite Quote: “Man whore. Guy Slut. Penis hound dog.”

Gladie Burger comes from a long line of matchmaker women. Unfortunately, Gladie doesn’t seem to have the same skills and abilities that her grandmother does. That said, she can’t seem to hold a job and so she doesn’t have much to lose. Now she’s moved in with her grandma (her only living relative) and is giving the family business a go.

Her grandma’s neighbor has dropped dead, she finds herself in the investigation, and things in the small town of Cannes are suddenly heating up. Gladie must also fight her urge for the junk food her grandmother craves and has delivered, learn the family business, and deal with romantic interests in the form of a very attractive new neighbor and the police chief. Oh yes, when she finds herself meeting the new chief with her pants down sparks and tempers are flying.

Spencer Bolton had a well-known scorched-earth policy when it came to women. He was pure poison to anyone in a dress. He was the Al Qaeda of penises, and I was determined to never see him naked.

It was a matter of national security.

In overview, this is a very standard light mystery with romantic elements. It has a murder mystery plot, there is sexual tension, there are a lot of jokes and funny moments, and things work out in the end- in a series that follows a single heroine who solves mysteries kind of way. There is sort of a love-triange, only time (and more books) will tell if this will become annoying or resolve itself, and Gladie of course has lots to learn and plenty of fodder for future adventures set up here.

What I found in this debut author’s book, was an absolutely delightful read that hit all the right notes. I giggled, I snickered, and I really enjoyed following Gladie around her small town getting into scrapes with bad guys (both cop and criminal alike). The cast of supporting characters was phenomenal – there are recurring people and places that I’ll be looking forward to revisiting in the future. Oh yes, this book moved right along finding a great balance between mystery, comedy, and budding romantic chemistry.

The ‘love triangle’ angle in these books always makes me annoyed, in this book I felt like it was clear that the handsome neighbor, while nice, wasn’t ever going to be for Gladie. Especially when compared to scenes between Gladie and Spencer- which were hands down the highlight of this book. She first meets him with her pants down, and though things don’t always make Gladie come out shining, she maintains her composure, refuses to be seduced, and gives him hell at every turn. I especially loved this scene, as the two attempt to do some detective work together:

“I don’t care for your tone,” I said.

“My tone? How about my gun? You like my gun?” He pulled back his jacket to show me his sidearm.

“Big bad policeman.” I pulled out the Mace.

“Is that my Mace?” Veins popped out on his neck, and his nostrils flared.

“Maybe.”

“You stole my car and my Mace?”

“I borrowed them. Don’t be so dramatic. I would have taken the shotgun, but it was locked.” I was baiting him, but he deserved it. He was stomping on my territory.

When she isn’t tracking down mysterious criminal types or being harassed by the creepy neighbors across the street, Gladie is trying to be a good matchmaker and she was a character I’d like to go have drinks with in real life. If I am going to invest in reading about a single character in multiple books it is vital that I really like, or am invested in the character, and with Gladie I definitely want more.

My caution note would be simply that if you don’t like this kind of a book, if the quotes and details don’t intrigue and interest you, then perhaps this isn’t one for you. Her grandmother does have some (mild) psychic abilities, so if that is a deal breaker for you then beware of that. It worked for me, I liked the way it was handled. Oh sure, the story skirts believability at times as mysteries tend to do, but it hit all the right notes for me as a reader. I found myself highlighting and marking passages for quotes in every chapter.

It didn’t have an especially original feel to it, there are lots of books that follow similar formulas and ideas. It is pretty predictable, standard fare really, and yet I can’t name one similar book I enjoyed quite as much or would recommend as highly in recent years. The author does a fantastic job with this story, and she has me craving more of her work. Having a book that isn’t afraid of being silly, of having a good time and making funny comments isn’t easy to do. This book managed to hit that right note of just funny enough, with characters I was still invested in and want to see more of in future books.

If you enjoy light mystery comedies with a fun heroine leading the way – you should check this one out. I can’t recall the last time I read a book of this genre and enjoyed it so thoroughly! I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment of this series.

Grade: A

Recent Reviews:
Fiction Vixen – B
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