Stella Hardesty was in an abusive marriage that came to an end one day when she killed her husband with a wrench. For a while Stella did not completely remember what happened that day but she was very happy to be free; free to live how she wants and free to live her own life. Stella has come into herself later in life and now she wants to help those who are suffering the same abusive relationship that she had endured for years. Now Stella is out to help women who are being abused by their husbands and boyfriends; exacting her own type of justice on her own parolees. But when one on her parolees strays from the course Stella has set him on and there is a young child involved, Stella will do anything, even take on the Mob, in order to get the child back.
This is a different type of mystery book as it is not as cut and dry as others and this has to do mainly as having Stella as the main character and heroine as well as the path that Stella has decided to take. She really feels that she has helped multiple women out of abusive situations with her own strange type of persuasion, rumours and apparently dominatrix ways (I laughed when I heard that rumour about her) and I don’t see anything that counteracts this conclusion, though she slightly on the wrong side of the law (okay maybe more than slightly). Littlefield definitely knows how to introduce the reader to the south, from the land scape, the small town life and how some of the characters talk. I like how Littlefield was not afraid to have Stella as a mortal individual, who can’t beat everything; she is a very real person. Even though Stella has changed a lot since her husband's "death", it does not mean that she is in control of everything her body and life. The mystery was a little bit lack luster in this book, and a little bit predictable but overall it was still an enjoyable read.
Littlefield was smart to have an "older" woman as the main protagonist as I think it open the book up to a demographic that probably does the majority of reading these days. Does this mean that a younger reader will not enjoy this book definitely not. I am in my mid-late 20s and I really enjoyed this book but I know personally I like reading book every now and then when the protagonist is about the same age as me and I can relate to some of their choices and though processes.
Stella does not represent the typical image of a heroine when you are reading a mystery novel, i'm pretty sure she is the last thing that you would expect. Stella is 50 years old, and is known around town for killing her abusive husband three years earlier with a wrench. Stella not being the typical heroine is what makes her so interesting.There are so many different aspects to her character that it was interesting, for me, to read a book where the protagonist was over 50 years of age, as there are experiences that Stella has had that I have not, and how they have shaped her into the person she is now. I think that it is funny that Stella refers to the men as her parolees and that she has to make sure they walk the straight and narrow and that she still keeps her sowing shop open, even though it does not sound like it is very profitable. Stella had so many characteristic that I was drawn to and enjoyed. She is protective, witty (with some very dry humor), she still got all hot and bothered when the guy she liked was around, she was fearless and really I think overall just wants to see the good in everyone. Stella is still a little green in the whole detective aspect of this book, but man does she ever have resources, some that I think the police would appreciate.
To be honest this book is all about Stella, she is what makes the book. So if you like Stella you will enjoy this book, if you don’t then you probably are not going to like this book. I personally liked Stella as a character and really who does not want to read a book about a 50 year old lady who is doing her own style of Vigilante Justice against abusive men? I am looking forward to getting my hands on the next book.
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