- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd (30 July 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0709076568
- ISBN-13: 978-0709076568
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.6 x 3.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,352,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Unfinished Business Hardcover – 30 Jul 2004
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About the Author
Barbara Seranella was born in Santa Monica. After running away from home at fourteen, joining a hippie commune and riding with outlaw motorcycle clubs she decided to become a mechanic. She and her husband, Ron, now divide their time between Laguna Beach and LaQuinta, California. This is her fourth novel featuring Munch Mancini. To find out more visit www.barbaraseranella.com
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Munch has an adopted seven-year-old child whom she adores. She works as a mechanic and moonlights as a limousine driver. On her current driving job, Munch sees the chairwoman arguing with an unknown male. Several days later, the woman is found murdered. The police believe a serial rapist killed the victim. By coincidence, Munch learns of another victim, who survived the rape. Munch tries to help her friend cope even as the rapist threatens to kill Asia. An irate Munch vows to bring this maniac down even if it knowingly places her in danger.
Of the four Mancini novels, UNFINSHED BUSINESS is the most memorable as the heroine becomes a complete character with flaws as opposed to a bad girl makes good stereotype. The story line contains a lot of surprises that keeps the reader's attention. Munch's best trait is her maturity that allows her to know she does not have all the answers but that is okay because nobody does. Barbara Seranella is a gifted writer who makes her characters seems real and fun to observe in action.
Munch still has her limousine service and is working as the "lady mechanic" at the Brentwood gas station. She has the opportunity to meet and help out Diane Bergman, newly widowed head of the Bergman Cancer Center. She's volunteered to drive home anyone needing it from the charity fundraiser. When Diane Bergman is murdered and left dead on the side of the freeway a few days later, Detective Mace St. John is assigned to the case. It is Munch who identifies the rich socialite from the photo of the scene where the victim was found with scorch marks on her body and eyes taped shut with duct tape.
Shortly afterward, taking an opportunity to help her fellow woman, Munch helps deliver Meals-on-Wheels to a rape victim still suffering from the trauma's effects a month later. Talking with Robin and with St. John and meeting a rape counselor teaches Munch a lot about what rape really is and what the effects are. Munch still struggles with issues from her childhood, some of which are brought up now. She has enough distance from those earlier years to see through clearer eyes now what really happened then.
Determined to help Robin, Munch pursues the investigation with Detective St. John and discovers similarities between Robin's attack and Diane Bergman's death. As they begin to piece together the puzzle, a man with a disguised voice begins calling Munch - the same man who is terrorizing Robin with calls and threats to return. He gets word to Munch via her adopted daughter that he knows everything about Munch and that she cannot hide from him. When St. John goes out on sick leave, Munch is left on her own to figure out who this man is, where he is hiding, and how he can know so much about her.
This novel was particularly evenly paced, deftly increasing in intensity. Ultimately Munch discovers the motive behind the death of her friend through some gutsy moves of her own. She has really made great strides from her days as addict and more and is coming into herself beautifully. She has not only survived her own traumas of growing up with Flower George as a father, but she is surpassing his influence on her life.
Miranda "Munch" Mancini is one lady mechanic I'd like to know better.
My one small quibble is the anachronistic reference to carpal tunnel syndrome which, in the early 80s, was almost unheard-of--certainly it wasn't common at a time when computers were not occupying desk space in almost every home. That said, I can only applaud the author and wait eagerly for the next book.
Lest one conclude that Munch has had her ticket punched on the Metrolink train to the suburb named Middle-Class Boredom, UNFINISHED BUSINESS has her being stalked by a vicious rapist who's MO is to torture and kill using electricity. Even more exciting, she's helping secret heartthrob St. John solve the case! It doesn't get better than this.
In a wider sense, the best part of any Munch thriller is observing Mancini evolve. The "mystery" angle of each book is fairly standard stuff though, admittedly, that in UNFINISHED BUSINESS has a nice twist and a half at the end. But what will make me continue to read more of Seranella's offerings is to see down what path the author takes our hero. Munch is a very sympathetic and likable protagonist. Will she ultimately take Mrs. St. John's place in Mace's bed in his converted railroad car? Will she eventually start-up her own Beamer dealership on the Westside? What will be Mom's reaction when Asia becomes old enough to ask questions about drugs, boys, carburetors, or aromatherapy? And what sort of sickos will ooze from underneath those L.A. freeway underpasses to add zest to their lives?
Munch, you go, girl!
UNFINISHED BUSINESS continues the adventures of Munch Mancini, one of the stronest female protagonists in contemporary mystery fiction. Munch, automobile mechanic and limousine driver, finds herself entangled in a murder and a rape-torture, and she tries to help her long-time friend Mace St. John investigate the crimes. Along the way, Munch is threatened and becomes concerned with the safety of her adopted daughter. She also must sort out her feelings concerning her current romantic interest.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS is an excellent book. Barbara Seranella keeps her plot moving like a speeding locomotive. She continues developing original characters in unique ways. She captures in prose the Southern California lifestyle like few other writers working the turf today.
I recommend UNFINISHED BUSINESS without any reservations. I am ecstatic that a geographical coincidence has gotten my work linked to hers. Read UNFINISHED BUSINESS today!