Jaine Austen makes a living ghost-writing anything from company brochures and personal ads to radio jingles and love letters in This Pen for Hire by Laura Levine. One day she gets a client, Howard Murdoch, who begs her to write a love letter for him to Stacy Lawrence, a girl he has worshipped from afar but always been too afraid to approach . Will Jaine write a letter in which she gets him a date with the lovely Stacy? Reluctantly, Jaine agrees, and Howard has what is probably the first date in his life set for Valentine’s Day.
But that night, Jaine sees on the news that Howard has been arrested for murder. Supposedly he came to meet Stacy, but instead of taking her on a date, he bludgeoned her to death with a thigh master! Jaine, certain that meek little Howard could never have committed this crime, visits him in jail and determines to find the true killer. The only problem is that she has so many theories that when she finally hits on the correct person, will the police think she is crying wolf?
This Pen for Hire had a lot of interesting points to it, with a very clever premise of a woman who writes letters for other people. In fact, after Howard’s arrest, she gets even more requests for love letters, but she turns those down after the result of her last love letter. We come to identify with Jaine and see the inner pain and personal blame she takes on as a result of seeing Howard in jail, the only person to visit him there besides his mother.
Other characters in the book contain less appeal, but they are the kinds of characters that you enjoy seeing imperfect. We can see pretty clearly why Howard has never had a date, as he is both socially awkward and pushy towards trying too hard to get a woman. The other major man in the book, Cameron, lives in Stacy’s apartment complex and takes time to warm up to Jaine. But he gradually gets involved in investigating the case with Jaine Ann’s helps her.
Brittany Pressley performs the audio version of this book. She uses careful timing and expressions to make the book really enjoyable. This Pen for Hire has a terrific audiobook that we can talk really enjoy.
I liked The Pen for Hire. Unfortunately, It did not hold a very strong level of interest to me. It was fairly good, but I did not find the plot particularly compelling. I give the book 3.5 stars.
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