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FORCE OF HABIT by Alice Loweecey

FORCE OF HABIT

By Alice Loweecey

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7387-2322-8
Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

An ex-nun signs on as administrative assistant to a private eye.

Somebody who really doesn’t want rising businessman Blake Parker to marry his blue-blood fiancée Pamela van Alstyne has been sending them anonymous notes with insults and threats couched in biblical language. When Blake comes to Driscoll Investigations to get the sender identified without any of the bad publicity a police report might generate, Frank Driscoll tells his assistant, Giulia Falcone, that she’d do better than him at interviewing the most likely suspects, Blake’s five ex-girlfriends. Giulia, who until 10 months ago was Sister Mary Regina Coelis, isn’t eager to tackle the job, and her awkward conversation with snobbish Sandra Falke, who tells her, “You seem new at this,” shows why not. But it doesn’t matter that Giulia lets the women she’s supposed to be interrogating get the better of her because she quickly ends up at the center of the case herself. Threatening notes and packages are sent to her; a stranger assaults her outside her apartment; a series of doctored photos persuades her boss that she’s slept with the client, a narcissistic sexpot who couldn’t believe she’d turn him down; and a turn toward what she fondly hopes is true love provokes a climactic scene she aptly describes as “porn theater of the absurd” and an anticlimactically overextended epilogue.

Loweecey’s debut is not by any means your mother’s detecting-nun story. Let’s hope the promised series allows Giulia to lick her wounds in private while the suspects and their troubles take center stage.