Hairstylist Marla Shore volunteers for Taste of the World, a fund-raiser sponsored by Ocean Guard. It’s a decision she soon regrets. First Chef Pierre's rum-soaked Bananas Foster goes up in flames, making her wonder if sabotage caused the incident. Her suspicions deepen as more chefs drop off the roster and Ocean Guard's attorney is murdered. Does the lawyer’s death relate to an estate being managed by the group? If their gala fails, this property will fall into the hands of a mysterious heir.
Marla's friend, dashingly handsome Detective Dalton Vail, believes the culprit might be one of Ocean Guard's esteemed board members. She determines to help him untangle the clues. With a killer on the loose, Marla has a lot more to worry about than which canapés her chefs should serve. She’d better comb through the knot of suspects and catch the saboteur before he strikes again.
Nominated for a Reviewer’s Choice Award by RT Book Reviews
Hair Raiser was originally published by Kensington. This Author's Edition has been updated with added bonus materials.
“A saucy murder mystery.” Publisher’s Weekly
“An easy-to-take series title with the ready appeal of an independent female sleuth and colorful Florida settings.” Library Journal
“Hair Raiser kept me guessing until the very end. Hats off to Nancy Cohen and her engaging sleuth, Marla the hairdresser!” Laurien Berenson, author of the Melanie Travis Mysteries
“Curl up with Nancy Cohen’s stylishly witty and chillingly suspenseful tale of murder on the Florida coast—Hair Raiser is a cut above.” Joanne Pence, author of the Angie Amalfi Mysteries
An engaging, busy plot drives saucy beautician Marla Shore's second outing (after 1999's Permed to Death), set in Palm Haven, Fla. When Marla assembles 10 local chefs to cook for a gala benefit to save a pristine beach property from commercial development, the chefs start enthusiastically but nasty accidents soon cause them, one by one, to withdraw. Sabotage isn't out of the question, since the board members of Ocean Guard, the preservation group sponsoring the benefit, are all at each other's throats. When someone bludgeons the board's lawyer to death with a Samoan knife belonging to a banker on the board, Marla goes to the Bahamas to look for answers, taking malicious pranks and even murder attempts in stride with all the panache of a grown-up Nancy Drew. At times Cohen overwrites, especially when describing her characters' reactions ("Marla gazed into Babs's frantic hazel eyes and her mouth curved upward"; "His face wore its usual supercilious grin as he peered at her, hazel eyes raking her attire"), but there's no reason why a good editor can't curb such excesses in future Bad Hair Day episodes. Marla's romance with police detective Dalton Vail continues to thrive, and should be a major focus for fans in the next installment. A bold pink jacket perfectly complements the text.