Louisiana Longshot by Jana Deleon starts with a heroine who has a price on her head. Fortune Redding (a nickname short for “Soldier of Fortune”) has a price on her head. $1 million for her dead body or $10 million for her live self. But that’s what she gets for killing the only brother of a major drug cartel head. With her shoe. But, as she asks her boss at the CIA, “That shoe had a spike on it. What the hell else is it good for?”
To further her problems, the CIA seems to have a mole, so she won’t even be safe in witness protection. But j the head of the CIA has a plan. His niece, a former beauty pageant queen and current librarian, recently lost her great-aunt and is scheduled to spend her summer making an inventory of the house and preparing the house to get sold. Instead, the boss proposes to send the niece on an extended tour of Europe and send Fortune to take the niece’s place.
Thus begin Fortune’s adventures in Sinful, Louisiana in the first of the A Miss Fortune Mysteries.
On Fortune’s first day in Sinful, a town where the oddest things are illegal, the great-aunt’s ancient dog, Bones, lives up to his name by digging up a bone in the bayou behind her house. It turns out that this bone once belonged to the missing abusive husband of Sinful resident Marie.
While Fortune tries to keep her cover as Sandy Sue Morrow, complete with blond hair extensions, acrylic nails, and a highly feminine wardrobe, she teams up with a pair of zany senior citizen women, nicknamed the “Geritol Mafia,” to solve this crime and free Marie. There is just one problem: The ladies are certain that Marie really did commit the murder.
This book is full of fun hi jinks, ludicrous encounters with the locals, ingenuous escapes from the Sinful deputy, and humor all around. Once you finish this book, you are going to want to go straight to the second book in the series, Lethal Bayou Beauty, which covers Fortune’s second week in Sinful. One element I particularly appreciated about the book is the strong female characters who do not need men to complete them or come to their distress. Fortune is a very hot woman who doesn’t even realize her own beauty. She has numerous encounters with the equally hot deputy Carson, but she doesn’t turn to him to save her, presenting the image of a strong woman who can take care of herself. There are hints that romance may appear in their future, but it is clear that any such romance will be on equal terms and that perhaps the reason Carson has not gone for all the women who have thrown themselves at him is that he needs a woman who is just as strong in character as he is. It is refreshing to see romance, or rather the vague hint of romance in this book, portrayed in such feminist terms.
Louisiana Longshot is a light, funny, but wild read with great character development and vivid depictions of the bayou country in Louisiana that sometimes made me laugh out loud. I have no reservation in giving it 5 stars. Louisiana Longshot (A Miss Fortune Mystery, Book 1) is available now through Amazon.