With his dying breath, Bobby Lowell begs Ellison Russell, “Tell her I love her.”
Unable to refuse, Ellison struggles to find the girl the murdered boy loved. Too bad an epically bad blind date, a vindictive graffiti artist, and multiple trips to the emergency room keep getting in the way.
Worse, a killer has Ellison in his sights, her newly-rebellious daughter is missing, and there’s yet another body in her hostas. Mother won’t be pleased.
Now Ellison must track down not one but two runaway teenagers, keep her promise to Bobby and elude the killer—all before her next charity gala committee meeting.
The 1970s. What a decade. I started the 70s at the end of grade school and graduated high school in 1979. I even kind of remember them ... which is good for me, because sometimes last week is a little fuzzy.
Let me state right off that I liked this book. I wanted to say that up front because some of what follows may seem otherwise. But like in Guaranteed to Bleed, things you think you know ... will turn out to be neither simple nor direct.
Ms. Mulhern works considerable magic for me to have empathy for Ellison. Let me explain. I normally would have little good will toward someone who wants to 'wrap up an investigation' before her next charity committee meeting. It seems to Hyacinth Bucket. And it reminds me of that story in the news recently about a woman who was suing her 12 year old nephew $127,000 for 'hugging her too hard' at his 8th birthday party and making it difficult for her to hold her hors d'oeuvres plate at cocktail parties.
So, maybe my prejudices caused me to start reading Guaranteed to Bleed with a chip on my shoulder. It would be awful to find a young person stabbed to death under the bleachers at a football game, even if the only reason you went down there had been to retrieve an expensive French lipstick. But appearances can be deceiving and I give Ellison big props for taking off her shirt to try and stem the flow of blood from the victim, despite what the other parents at the game might think.
The good and the evil things uncovered in this story have existed in every age, but I've never seen such an accurate 70s stamp on a book. Having lived through the decade, it was a stroll down memory lane. It was like looking at the years as a visitor and looking for clues to solve a puzzle.
Guaranteed to Bleed was both entertaining and educational for me. The story kept me engaged and I got a reminder that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. (Sorry, couldn't resist that one.) I look forward to reading other books in this series and by this author.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Julie Mulhern is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is—she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours