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Synopsis: When Elliott Lisbon blends her directorship of the Ballantyne Foundation with her PI-in-Training status by planning parties and performing discreet inquiries for charitable patrons. But when the annual Wonderland Tea Party makes everyone go mad as a hatter, Elli gets pulled into a shooting, a swindle, and the hung for a Faberge egg.
From seedy pawn parlors to creepy antique shops, Sea Pine Island’s other half prove to be as wacky as the wealthy. As Elli falls farther down the rabbit hole, she finds a scheming salesman, a possessive paramour, a dead donor–in fact, the only thing missing is a bottle labeled “Drink Me.” As events evolve from curious to crazy, Elli gets lost in the maze and finds herself trapped in a house of cards with a killer.
Huzzuh! Elliott Lison is back and if you haven’t read the first book in the series, Board Stiff, don’t worry because it’s not necessary to have done so in order to enjoy Whack Job. While Kendel Lynn does touch upon some events from Board Stiff, it’s nothing I would consider a spoiler.
Narrative is first person via Elliott and she’s a trustworthy narrator. You might feel a bit frustrated with the way Elliott is portrayed; some might even classify her as a bit clumsy and one might question what Lynn’s intentions are by portraying Elliott that way. Others might point out that Elliott’s actions are ridiculous and over the top, but I don’t see it that way. In all honesty, I see her more as your average woman who isn’t glamorous, but intelligent and resourceful and yeah things happen. Elliott’s easy to relate to and you’ll find yourself cringing at times, but cheering her on at the same time. I admire her tenaciousness to get to the bottom of things despite the obstacles in her way. That’s why when I see poor Elliott getting into scraps or finding herself covered in fish guts, I want to high-five her for taking one for the team. Can we honestly see some police officer getting into Elliott style situations? As much as I love the officers Elliott talks to, I can’t imagine them getting down and dirty even if it’s all accidental.
Now for those of you who read Board Stiff, you might remember the whole Ransom and Matty dilemma. Well…not much has changed other than Ransom still is Ransom. The good thing is Elliott is ready to move on without either men in her life and even though I’m secretly cheering Team Ransom, I’d love for Lynn to throw a curveball and maybe have Elliott wind up with someone totally different. I know some readers are tired of the whole love triangle, but I don’t really see the Elliott / Ransom / Matty relationship as one. I won’t go into details because I don’t want to ruin the story and I know if I touch upon something regarding them, it could very well be seen as a spoiler. I will say this, I really enjoyed reading Elliott’s emotions regarding these two men in her life and really can’t wait to see where Lynn takes us.
What I really enjoyed about Lynn’s Whack Job is getting to know Elliott better. In Board Stiff we’re introduced to most of the characters that play a vital role in Elliott’s life, but we get to really know them in Whack Job. I adored how Lynn showcased both Elliott’s daytime job (director of the Ballantyne Foundation) while trying to obtain her license as a private investigator. We can easily see where Elliott’s heart lies and while she does enjoy both, Elliott really shines when she’s at the big house (at Foundation headquarters). And as for the overall mystery…let’s just say there were a few surprises. I was a bit worried for a moment that a few things wouldn’t be cleared up, but Lynn doesn’t leave anything unanswered. I had a few ideas regarding apparent culprits and I was proven wrong on all counts!
Overall, Kendel Lynn has written a delightful romp and you’ll never want it to end. I enjoyed Board Stiff, but Lynn has shown us that her Elliott Lisbon series is just going to get better and I can’t wait for the next installment.