A zany mystery about three property managers who unintentionally turn into crime-solvers.
Jackie Parker, a certified process server in Miami, has had it with her lecherous lawyer boss. When he makes one inappropriate move too many, she quits, leaving her unemployed and unsure of her next step. Lucky for her, her husband, Luke, and his brother, Logan, both former military men, have decided to start their own property management team, and they want her to join them. The trio embarks on a business venture, representing landlords who need them to squash fires and deal with problem tenants. Despite their qualifications, however, all doesn’t go according to plan. In fact, on their first job, which is to confront a tenant who has not been paying rent, they discover a dead body inside the apartment, and the tenant is nowhere to be found. Challenges arise, both professionally—as they deal with countless debacles and multiple dead bodies at the properties—and personally, as the strained relationship between Jackie and brother-in-law Logan makes working life stressful and difficult. Ultimately, Hart’s (The Misadventures of a Laundry Hag: All Washed Up, 2014, etc.) novel reads like a quirky episode of a crime-solving TV show like Law and Order. The plot is suspenseful, and the main characters are relatable, particularly Jackie, whose self-deprecation makes her likable; for instance, when she goes for a drink of water naked in the middle of the night, Jackie says, “Eh, it was still dark, if any of the neighbors sat out on their lawn chairs all night, waiting to catch a glimpse of me in the raw, I wasn’t about to deny them the cheap thrill.” While elements of the story sometimes feel gratuitously vulgar—e.g., a tenant getting high on buckets of fermented human excrement—the author competently incorporates some heavier themes (fidelity, parent-child relationships, trust) into the wacky, lighthearted mystery.
Likable characters help make this solid, easy-to-read mystery difficult to put down.