Someone has been catfishing the older single women of Sinful, Louisiana, luring them into supposed relationships with fictitious men in order ultimately to get money out of them, so Ida Bell and Gertie use the need to investigate this crime to lure Fortune out of her stupor in Fortune Hunter, the just-released-on-audio eighth book in Jana Deleon’s Miss Fortune Mystery series.
The previous book, Hurricane Force, ends with a very dramatic denouement and the disappointing break-up between Fortune and Carter now that he knows her true identity as a CIA assassin. This book opens five days later, with Fortune refusing to leave her sofa and even to eat, in deep depression. For one thing, Carter is the first man she has ever even come close to opening up her heart to. So Ida Bell and Gertie see the discovery of this catfish as the perfect opportunity to drag Fortune out of her doldrums. Just as they begin to investigate, though, their friend is murdered in her bed, and they rush to help offer care to the friend’s wheelchair-bound husband. Soon this investigation seems to merge with the catfish investigation as they explore the possible solution.
Fortune Hunter is not as full of the crazy hijinks of Ida Bell and Gertie, who always have backup plans in place because inevitably something is bound to go wrong when Gertie gets involved. But it retains its humor, just with less silliness. Instead, it contains much more introspection on the part of Fortune, even very deep thinking about the nature of reality, who she is, and who she wants to be. Recognizing that her time in Sinful has changed her irrevocably because she has made friends, Fortune realizes she can never return to the exact same position in life that she held before having to hide for her life in Sinful. Fortune and Carter also have a fascinating heart-to-heart talk about their pasts and how those have made them the people they are today. For such a fun series, even the word introspection seems not to fit in with its style, but I found the thought process of Fortune very interesting to follow, and Deleon makes it even less something extraneous by using Fortune’s personal musings to help her solve the murder.
One thing I have loved throughout the whole series is the strength of the female characters, and this comes through strongly again in this book. In addition, I appreciate the way that Carter has been drawn to Fortune, despite every other single woman in the area throwing herself at him, because of her independence and strength. In this book, we see his uncle, Walter, open up to Fortune about what has kept him in love with Ida Bell for the last 40 years, and he loves her feistiness and passion.
Readers of FangirlNation will also appreciate the way the books in this series utilize contemporary technology and social media, such as the use of catfishing as a plot device without relying on technology to solve the mystery, CSI-style.
For anyone who has not read the previous books in the series, I highly recommend reading them in order, especially the first one, Louisiana Longshot, so you don’t get spoilers but also can appreciate the growth that you see develop in Fortune as she learns the meaning of friendship and the teamwork that comes out of that.
The audio version was just released on July 12 and is narrated by Cassandra Campbell. I hate the way most publishers make us readers wait three months (the book was released to read in April) in order to get the audio version. I find it particularly unfair toward those of us who have disabilities that prevent us from doing our own reading and have to wait for the audio release! Campbell does a good job handling the narration and the voices of the characters, including using the accent of the Louisiana South without making it so strong that listeners have trouble following it.
Despite my frustration at waiting for this to be released on audio, the book was worth the wait. Furthermore, while it did not have as much fun with the crazy doings of Ida Bell and Gertie, the depth to it more than made it for those, really giving us strong characters in Fortune and Carter, as well as Ida Bell and Gertie. I strongly give this book five stars!
Fortune Hunter (A Miss Fortune Mystery) (Volume 8) is available now in multiple formats. To order from Amazon, click the link in the title. Or, check your local library and bookstores for a copy.
Then tell us: What did you think of the book?