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Dating Dead Men    by Harley Jane Kozak order for
Dating Dead Men
by Harley Jane Kozak
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Harley Jane Kozak introduces Wollie Shelley to the cozy mystery world in this her first novel, Dating Dead Men. Wollie is manager/wannabe owner of a greeting card store, and also designs cards on her own. A talented girl, she is determined to be a success so she can take proper care of her institutionalized schizophrenic brother.

Unfortunately, life intervenes and Wollie becomes involved in a murder. She meets Doc, his mute daughter Ruby, and Margaret their ferret, all with agendas of their own. Swedish hit men, the Italian Mafia, and the police, all figure in this romp in the name of crime. While trying to sort it all out, Wollie (for the money) is rapidly dating men as part of a scientific experiment being conducted by a radio talk show host (appropriate wardrobe included).

Dating Dead Men takes a refreshingly new slant on the cozy. I like Wollie. I appreciate her love for, and sense of responsibility to, her brother. She's a woman of the new century. Her wacky friends, Freedreeq (don't you love the name?) and Joey, screen her scientific dates, adding even more humor to the mix.

Easy to read, with a fast moving plot, gobs of action and scores of laughs, Dating Dead Men is well written and avoids first novel hesitancy. Welcome, Harley Jane Kozak, to the world of mystery writing.

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