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Ahead of the Game (MIRA) [Mass Market Paperback]

Suzann Ledbetter


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Book Description

17 Mar 2006 MIRA
- North of Clever (Mira Books, 12/01) achieved a 53% NSR.- East of Peculiar (Mira Books, 5/00) achieved a 60% NSR.- Suzann is a contributing editor to Family Circle magazine and a weekly columnist for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri.- Suzann's work has been featured in the Doubleday Book Club program and she has won a prestigious Western Writers of American Spur Award for her biography Nellie Cashman, Prospector & Trailblazer.

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Review

"A cleverly-crafted cast of characters and a story that will keep you guessing..."

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of the Game and far ahead of the pack 28 Sep 2004
By Susan Fawcett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
You can't go home again - or can you? Zoey Jones, fresh off a divorce from not only an unemotional husband but an incompatible lifestyle maintaining an expensive house in a cookie cutter upper middle-class neighborhood in Kansas City, is soon to find out.

Tending bar in her uncle's neighborhood establishment, she's moved back to her hometown of Blythesville, MO, with her teenaged daughter, Claire.

As are all of Suzann Ledbetter's heroines, Zoey is refreshingly down-to-earth and easy to like. No high-falutin' pretentious career or penchant for globe-trotting for this gal. If her life seems familiar, it's because it is. Who among Ledbetter's army of loyal fans haven't dealt with teenage rebellion, aging and ailing parents, or the wet-palms inducing thoughts of dating again after a long, unhappy marriage?

It's because of Zoey's very real problems and challenges that we immediately feel comfortable with and empathize with her. When the unthinkable happens, and Zoey's father, Charlie French, is arrested for a murder he didn't commit, we care about her, and are right there with her as she handles the crisis.

Ledbetter deftly weaves into her plots a number of references to the societal ills inherent today, all without cramming anything down our throats. As the suspense builds and the stakes get even higher for Zoey and her family, Hank Westlake, Blytheville's top homicide detective, deals with his rekindled feelings for Zoey while using his savvy to solve a murder that on the surface looks like open-and-shut, but in reality is anything but. His appeal, too, lies in his humanity. No unreachable knight here, instead a guy we can picture easily as the shy seventeen year-old he once was, smitten with Zoey all those years ago, but too awkward to make a move. Haven't we all wondered what became of the guy we didn't date? Ledbetter answers that question, too.

Ledbetter's talent for dialogue shines once again in "Ahead of the Game," as does her trademark humor and quirky takes on the mundane events of life.

Two characters who add their own brand of charm to this tale (or is it tail?) are Fred and Bob, Zoey's rescued greyhounds. They provide comic relief in a story that deals with important subjects while themselves bringing attention to the plight of retired racing dogs.

So, can you go home again? Suzann Ledbetter answers that question with a story brimming with suspense, romance, and family. Make a visit to Blythesville, and drop in on Zoey, Hank, Claire, Charlie and Vesta. You may find you never want to leave.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fine amateur sleuth romance 1 Sep 2004
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Following a divorce from Stuart and the loss of her job as an assistant director of the tech-services department of a Kansas City firm, Zoey Jones accompanied by her fourteen years old daughter Claire returns to her hometown of Blytheville, Missouri. She works at her uncle's bar feeling like the cheese in a sandwich as she struggles with the rebellion of her teen, the interference and "raids" of her home improvement mom and the failing health of her dad.

Detective Lieutenant Hank Westlake persuades Zoey to go out with him. However, their first date since she left for college years ago turns ugly when her father is arrested for the murder of Marlowe and the robbery of convenience stores. Though the evidence is overwhelming, Zoey refuses to believe that her dad, a kind veterinarian, could do these felonies. She begins her own inquiries only to find the proof getting increasingly stronger that her father did the deeds even as she falls in love with the cop that will put him away for life.

Though the motive seems on the surface way out even with our failed health care system, amateur sleuth romance readers will treasure this fine tale due to a powerful caring cast. The story line moves out on two subplots: the investigation (unofficial and official) and the romance with both intertwining through the relationship (at times dysfunctional) between Zoey and Hank. Few, if any, writers are better than Suzan Ledbetter at staying AHEAD OF THE GAME with interesting novels that grip the audience from start to finish.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fell down at the end 7 Oct 2005
By N. Cox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this book until the end, which was VERY dissatisfying. Very standard (and false) line about organ donation, which shows that the author did little to no research on the topic. And after the whole book building up, the ending just fizzled.

Blah!
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