Kelby, N.M.

Whale Season Whale Season (2006)
From Publishers Weekly
A late-night Christmas Eve card game with a Jesus impersonator triggers misadventures galore in Kelby's screwball comedy with a dark side. In the dinky town of Whale Season, a faded (and whale-free) Florida tourist trap, various citizens mull over the lows life's brought them to. Sheriff Trot Jeeter and his best friend/oldest rival, Leon, a used RV salesman, form a love square with Carlotta, Leon's erstwhile girlfriend, and Dagmar, the owner of a local strip club and Leon's ex-wife (Trot loves them both, but Carlotta most). After winning a luxury RV from "Jesus" in poker, Leon gets drunk and burns down his trailer; everyone figures he's dead. Meanwhile, Jesus (who's really a serial killer named Dr. Ricardo Garcia) has decided that Jimmy Ray (a musician at Dagmar's club—and likely her father) will be his next victim. The nonstop comedy jives weirdly with the characters' backstories and the threat of grisly murder, best exemplified during a scene in which Jesus vows to give Jimmy "the Hallmark Card of Death," Jimmy finally acknowledges his paternity and everyone, weeping with joy, decides to eat French toast. Shaggy, silly, a little bit soggy—but as a holiday diversion, this is mighty good fun. (It's also a big shift for Kelby, who, writing as Nicole Kelby, offered up the luminous, haunting In the Company of Angels in 2001.) (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
Murder At the Bad Girl's Bar & Grill Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill: A Novel (2008)
From Publishers Weekly
Lyrical prose and Technicolor characters lift Kelby's amusing, unconventional mystery set at a gated Florida beach community plagued by murder and mayhem. The main responsibility of Brian Wilson, a security guard at Laguna Key who was kicked out of FBI training, is to protect the ethereal Sophie, blind daughter of his boss, Mr. Whit. Mr. Whit, who's buying up property to expand his small empire, is frustrated by the last holdout, ex–horror-film actress Danni Keene, owner of the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill, which has been repeatedly vandalized. Brian finds the first body, that of a homeless activist whose estranged brother, Sòlas Mackay, arrives with his traveling puppet circus and sets up camp in the Bad Girl's parking lot. Danni discovers the next, a Barry Manilow tribute artist and hit man she had hired to entertain customers. Sòlas, Danni, Brian and Sophie must battle marauding vultures, fierce weather, a devious ex-husband and the stun-gun–happy Mr. Whit. Along the way, Kelby (Whale Season) offers some unexpected wisdom. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

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