Viets, Elaine

Dead-End Job
Shop Till You Drop Shop Till You Drop (2003)
Once on the fast track to success, Helen Hawthorne is now going nowhere fast. She traded in her chic life for a shabby one. And now she's on the run, jumping from city to city and dead-end job to dead-end job, trying to stay one step ahead of her past...

After two weeks as the new salesclerk at Juliana's, Fort Lauderdale's ultra-exclusive clothing boutique, Helen still feels out of fashion. And since the only crime likely to be committed around here is being old-or worse, looking old-Helen figures she's safe. Until she discovers the manager has been embezzling money and selling designer drugs along with the designer clothes. Add murder to the mix-and Helen's dead-end job is downright deadly.
Murder Between the Covers Murder Between the Covers (2003)
Helen has a new job "off the books" at Page Turners bookstore in Fort Lauderdale...until the owner is murdered. But since the arrogant Page Turner III had so many enemies, Helen will have to read between the lines to uncover the truth about a clever killer.
Dying to Call You Dying to Call You (2004)
While making the best of her new telemarketing job, Helen Hawthorne thinks she hears a murder on the other end of the line-and must avoid a close call with a killer.
Just Murdered Just Murdered (2005)
Helen Hawthorne's new job at a bridal salon becomes downright funereal when a bride-to-be's mother is murdered. Now, Helen must find the killer before this turns into another dead-end position for her-literally.
Murder Unleashed Murder Unleased (2006)
From Publishers Weekly
Full of wry social commentary, Viets's fifth Dead-End Job mystery (after 2005's Just Murdered) finds series heroine Helen Hawthorne, former St. Louis biz whiz, still on the lam and working off the books at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., shop called Pampered Pets to avoid paying alimony to a philandering ex-husband. The murders of two Pampered Pets customers—Tammie Grimsby, an aging, sex-crazed trophy wife; and Willoughby Barclay, owner of Barkley, a "Labradoodle" who's the object of a custody dispute in an ugly divorce—sets Helen on the sleuthing trail. Viets wickedly explores the trendy and sometimes cruel fashion of using dogs as accessories and exuberantly depicts this elite pet world, which includes dueling dog groomers as well as murder suspects. A hurricane threat adds zest to the hunt for the killer.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Murder with Reservations Murder with Reservations (2007)
From Publishers Weekly
Yuppie-turned-menial-job-hunter Helen Hawthorne, still on the run from her deadbeat ex-husband, is keeping a low profile with backbreaking work as a maid at Sybil's Full Moon Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in Viets's humorous and socially conscious sixth whodunit (after 2006's Murder Unleashed). Helen's sister warns her that her ex, Rob, is hot on her trail, determined to hunt her down and claim his settlement money, but the heads-up doesn't alleviate Helen's fear and anger when she spies Rob checking in at her place of employment. Her postmarital troubles soon take a backseat to the main mystery, though: six months earlier, a bank robber checked into the Full Moon and supposedly stashed his loot ($100,000) somewhere on the premises before he was killed in a shootout. Helen's co-worker Rhonda goes missing, and a new cleaning guy shows up who's a little too cute to be true before Viets ties it all together for some rollicking fun and felony tempered with a dash of Nickel and Dimed. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Clubbed to Death Clubbed to Death (2008)
From Publishers Weekly
In Viets's sprightly seventh Dead-End Job mystery (after 2007's Murder with Reservations), intrepid Helen Hawthorne, now a customer care clerk at the snobbish Superior Club in Golden Palms, Fla., is dismayed to run into her money-hungry ex, Rob, in the club parking lot. When Rob, who's now married to a wealthy club member known as the Black Widow because her last five husbands have died mysteriously, tells Helen he fears for his life, the unsympathetic Helen hits him. Fellow club employees witness their fight, and one of them, Brenda, almost succeeds in getting Helen fired. Later, the authorities view Helen as a prime suspect after Rob disappears, a possible murder victim. When someone beats Brenda and a philandering plastic surgeon to death with Brenda's seven iron, Helen has a lot more to worry about. The romantic ending will leave fans eager for the next installment in this superior cozy series. Author tour. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
Killer Cuts Killer Cuts (2009)

From Publishers Weekly

Near the start of Viets's hair-raising eighth Dead-End Job mystery (after 2008's Clubbed to Death), Helen Hawthorne, who's working at Miguel Angel's high-end beauty salon in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., assists Miguel in fluffing and buffing Honey, the pregnant fiancée of Kingman King Oden, a notorious gossip blogger and cable TV star. After the couple exchange I dos at King's Hendin Island waterfront palace, someone shoves a drunken King into his pool, where he drowns. Miguel becomes a top suspect in King's murder after heroin's found in the hairstylist's makeup case. To help clear Miguel, Helen investigates other suspects, including Honey and the victim's two ex-wives. Meanwhile, Helen must cope with anonymous threats in her mail as well as plan her wedding to her PI boyfriend. Viets keeps the action popping until the cliff-hanging ending, as Helen ignores signs that her best-laid plans have a black hole connected to the past she's been running from for years. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Half Price Homicide by Elaine VietsHalf-Price Homicide (2010)

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A posh Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resale shop provides the snazzy scene of the crime in Viets's superior ninth mystery starring Helen Hawthorne, the queen of dead-end jobs and magnet for murder (after 2009's Killer Cuts). Helen and Vera Salinda, the owner of Snapdragon's Second Thoughts, are shocked when Chrissy Martlet, a wealthy developer's sexy trophy wife, is found fatally bonked on the head with a Limoges pineapple, then hung with a Gucci scarf after trying to sell Vera some of her designer goods. Identifying Chrissy's killer as well as the culprit who bashes in the head of a model friend with a beer bottle tests Helen's sleuthing abilities to the limit. A teasing plot twist serves up a reminder that even if her greedy ex-husband, Rob, might finally stop pestering her and better jobs appear, there are still mountains to climb before Helen can rest easy with Phil, her PI honey. Viets doesn't waste a word in this tight, fast-paced installment as she deftly balances comedy and tragedy. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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