Thursday, July 17, 2014

Last Diner Standing by Terri L. Austin | Review

I read a really good book recently, y'all Last Diner Standing, by Terri L. Austin, Book 2 in the Rose Strickland Mystery series. Let me tell you a little about it.

Synopsis, from the author's website:

Rose Strickland is having a blue Christmas. Her friend is arrested for attempted murder, her sexy bad guy crush is marked by a hit man, and her boss is locked in an epic smackdown with a rival diner. 

Determined to save those she loves, Rose embarks on an investigation more tangled than a box of last year's tree lights. With her eclectic gang at the ready, Rose stumbles across dead bodies, ex-cons, chop shops, jealous girlfriends, jilted lovers, and a gaggle of strippers in a battle for freedom she might not survive.

Last Diner Standing is another really fun read in Terri L. Austin's Rose Strickland Mystery series!  (Click here for my review of Book 1, Diners, Dives & Dead Ends.)    

{NOTE:  Diners, Dives & Dead Ends has a surprise ending, and the surprise ending is mentioned at the beginning of Last Diner Standing.  If you haven't read Diners, Dives & Dead Ends and you don't want the surprise ending spoiled, be sure to read it first, then read Last Diner Standing.} 

Let's see....  What can I tell you about the book, that won't divulge any spoilers?

Last Diner Standing picks up about six weeks after Diners, Dives & Dead Ends concludes. Rose's co-workers, family members, and friends,that we met in the first book, return in this book.  The reader gets to know some of these returning characters better, and meets some new characters in Last Diner Standing.

The title refers to the diner war that is getting starting when the book begins.  Ma's Diner, where Rose works, has always been open 6am to 1pm, serving breakfast only.  For 20 years, Rudy's Roundup Restaurant has never served breakfast -- until now. In retaliation, Ma is keeping the diner open until 3pm to serve lunch.  The ensuing skirmishes are hilarious, as Ma and Rudy try to outdo each other.  Does Rose save the day?  Read the book, to find out! 

Rose's friend Janelle, her study buddy and mother of two kids (nine and seven), is arrested for the attempted murder of her ex-husband.  Rose finds an attorney for Janelle, but Janelle's attorney is more interested in cutting a plea deal for her with the DA (only two to six years in jail) than in truly defending her against the false charges.   
    "When Axton went missing, you found him. Will you find out who put Asshat in a coma?" 
     I hesitated. I'd had my fill of danger when I went looking for Axton. I was a boring girl now and that's the way I liked it. 
     "Please, Rose. I got to take care of my kids and I can't do that behind bars." 
     I looked into her worried eyes. "Okay." How could I say no?

Rose's crush on Sullivan has intensified, and she discovers evidence that there is a hit out on him.
    Sullivan sat behind a massive desk. Hotter than a bonfire on the fourth of July. Runner of an illegal gambling operation. Object of more than one erotic dream. He glanced up when the door opened and studied me with his gold eyes. 
     He was gorgeous. Warm, honeyed skin and strong cheekbones. Black hair brushed away from his flawless face. Yeah, gorgeous almost covered it. 
  "Why would someone put a hit on you? Who did you piss off?" 
     He shrugged. "I have a successful business. If I'm out of the way, it's up for grabs." 
     His business? Illegal endeavors was more like it. Sullivan was a criminal. Period. Of course he would be a target for other criminals who wanted to move up the food chain. I forgot sometimes who he was, what he did.

    I was on my own in the Asshat investigation. Sullivan had his own problems, but his new threat added to my worries. It was important to me that he was alive and well and involved in various criminal enterprises. Well, I wished he would get out of his various criminal enterprises and go legit. I cared about him. 
     Damn it, when did that happen?

Rose's mother continues her attempts to control and manipulate Rose.  In this quote, at the Stricklands' Christmas party, Mrs Strickland introduces Rose to an eligible bachelor, telling them they "have similar jobs."
    "Tyler is a media consultant and you're in public relations....  Rosalyn works directly with customers for a small, family-owned firm."   
     She hated that I was a waitress. In her eyes, I was nothing but a failure. I knew she resented me for letting her down, for not living up to my potential.

There are a lot more scenes, situations, and juicy quotes that I would love to share with you, but they're spoilers, so you will just have to READ THE BOOK.  

I loved it! and recommend Last Diner Standing to all Cozy Mystery fans!!  Last Diner Standing is another Five-Kitty winner for Terri L. Austin!