Recommended as "sort of like Janet Evanovich, but funnier", I read and enjoyed this debut novel about sometime hairdresser [come] journalist, Bubbles Yablonsky.
While Ms. Evanovich's novels tend to focus more on Stephanie Plum's various boyfriends and neglect the mystery, Ms. Strohmeyer's novels pay plenty of attention to the mystery. She weaves a wonderful story and even tosses in some plot twists!
Bubbles Yablonsky is a divorced single mom, living on the "wrong" side of Lehigh, PA (based loosely on Bethlehem, PA). Her husband, "Dan the Man", divorced her to marry up and now lives in a snooty neighborhood with his new wife, though he can't seem to escape the fact that the law firm he works for advertises on cardboard inserts in the telephone book. Her daughter, Jane, is bright and gets along great with Bubbles, though she looks every bit the part of of the rebellious teenager with her Kool-Aid colored hair and black lipstick. Bubbles, armed with a degree in journalism from Two Guys Community College (so-called because it is located in the former Two Guys Department Store) is struggling to make a better life for herself and her daughter. As a freelance reporter for the local newspaper, she gets a call to cover the story of a bridge-jumper and that's where the adventures begin. After covering the possible suicide, Bubbles and AP photog Steve Stiletto take off to rescue Bubbles' mom from jail (long story). The trouble they run into along the way is what really begins the mystery.
Ms. Strohmeyer has interspersed some really neat beauty recipes throughout the story. While some might consider this gimmicky and extraneous, I thought it was cute and I kept trying to figure out which of the beauty treatments mentioned in the story would be in a recipe at the end of the chapter.
Bubbles is perky, fun and bubbly and I will read more of her novels!