Monday, June 20, 2011

"I Can't Make You Love Me, But I Can Make You Leave" by Dixie Cash

When someone makes a killing in the country music business, it's time to call in Debbie Sue and Edwina - the Domestic Equalizers - whose motto is, "don't get mad, get evidence." The career of former Queen of Country Music Darla Denman ain't what it used to be. No more big arenas - she's lucky to fill a barroom - and now she's forced to tour (by bus!) with the detestable Roxie Jo, current wife of Darla's manager/ex-husband. So when her rattletrap tour bus gives up the ghost outside tiny Salt Lick, Texas, the faded Nashville star's thrilled to find loyal fans (and sympathetic ears) in Debbie Sue Overstreet and Edwina Perkins-Martin. But when her nemesis and upstart backup singer Roxie Jo turns up dead in her dressing room - which bears an uncanny resemblance to a cleaning supply closet - Darla finds herself in more trouble than a Dixie Chick in merry old England. Luckily Debbie Sue and Edwina are not only the proud owners of Salt Lick's best beauty parlor but they also moonlight as private detectives! And if the Domestic Equalizers can't get to the bottom of a murderous musical mess, then no one can!

There's really not much to say about a Dixie Cash book, except sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself! I love these little escapes from the real world, and this one was like having a sleepover with great friends I haven't seen in a while. Edwina and Debbie Sue were in this one a bit more than the last book, which was great; I love their friendship, and while I like the "new" characters that are introduced in each book, these two ladies are the reason I started reading this author.

Darla Denman is wonderful, just the right amount of world-weary ex-famous person looking for a comeback. She meshed wonderfully with the Domestic Equalizers, perhaps because she's much closer in age to Debbie Sue and Edwina (I think she might be a bit older). Her ex-hubby and manager is well-written and doesn't come off like a complete idiot, which he certainly could have. The authors wisely have wisely made him very aware of his new bride's faults, and they also show him wishing that things were different, either with her or with his ex. It feels very real, and sets up a nice love-triangle of sorts.

The only thing that was disappointing was the whodunit part; I had it figured out pretty much after the prologue. Then again, I don't read these for the mystery - I read them for the humor, the friendship, and the love story. I will give the ladies credit for taking chances; there are some who probably will be unhappy with the reveal. Not me, of course, and I look forward to the next book! At least, I hope there's a next book.... this one had a "they all lived happily ever after" line in the epilogue, and that worries me. They can't stop now!

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