Title: A Bad Day’s Work
Author: Nora McFarland
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5
Lilly Hawkins is about to catch a break. After months of mistakes, blunders, and mix-ups that really weren’t her fault, she’s been asked to cover a murder for her local TV station. As a female shooter, or camera person, she has to work twice as hard to garner respect, and the bad luck she’s been having hasn’t been helping matters. She manages to get a great scoop on the murder investigation, despite the fact that none of the police have been talking to reporters, but when she races back to the TV station to share the footage, the tape is blank. Despite this fact, people begin to come after Nora asking for the tape – thugs, people at the news station, the police – and she realizes they think she must have seen something. Nora is forced to strike out on her own to figure out the truth behind the murder and why so many people are after her.
I love a solid mystery with a strong female lead and good character development, so A Bad Day’s Work was perfect for me. Lilly Hawkins was an appealing character who was easy to like. In fact, it’s good that she’s so accessible to the reader at the beginning, because as the novel progresses, Lilly makes some hard realizations about herself. But because the reader is on her side from the beginning, they are rooting for her, rather than finding reasons to dislike her. I loved the process of self-discovery Lilly went through as the novel progressed.
The mystery in A Bad Day’s Work was very well done. There were enough twists and turns to keep the reader hooked, but not so many that it made it unbelievable. Lilly was a great character for this, as her personality is such that she won’t stop until she finds the truth. While she does plunge herself headfirst into the investigation, she’s not reckless or stupid. She doesn’t take unnecessary risks, which I appreciated.
The secondary characters in A Bad Day’s Work are very well developed for such a short book. This is supposed to be the first in a trilogy, and I look forward to seeing more of them, as well as Lilly, in the second book.
A Bad Day’s Work reminded me a lot of the first novel in Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan series, Baltimore Blues. The feel of the books are similar, as are the main characters. If you enjoy that series, or really any mystery series with a strong female lead and a sense of humor, you’ll like A Bad Day’s Work.