Monday, September 3, 2018

Just Add Water (Hetta Coffey #1), by Jinx Schwartz (author), Beth Richmond (narrator)

Books in Motion, ISBN 9781605482064, December 2008 (original publication August 2004)

Hetta Coffey is an engineering consultant who, at the beginning of this book, is working for an American consulting company in Japan. Her fiancée, an American whom she met after arriving in Japan, is working at another company.

When he is found to be stealing from the company and using company shipments to smuggle stolen goods, he gets out ahead of being arrested, and along the way cleans out her bank account. The only thing he can't get is the key to a certain locker, that he left in her innocent keeping, which she wears on a chain around her neck.

Five years later, she's back in the US, owns a house in Oakland, and has her own consulting business. She still wears the key, as a reminder that men can't be trusted. The only male in her emotional life is a yellow Lab, adopted from a shelter, whom she calls RJ.

Then strange and interesting things start to happen.

She and her friend Jan meet the Jenkins brothers, Lars and Bob, a.k.a. "Jenks." She and Jenks initially really don't like each other, but you know immediately where that has to go. Especially since Jenks runs a security company, and Hetta is going to be needed security, very soon...

She starts getting hangup calls, and strange things seem to be happening around her house, including her dog getting out of his very secure enclosure to harass the mailman, and someone seemingly having gone through her jewelry box.

Hetta and Jan are from Texas, and they don't like "Yankees." Lars and Jenks are Yankees, and since Boston is mentioned at some point, that doesn't mean they're just fans of the New York Yankees baseball team. Hetta and Jan find repeated need to mention their dislike of Yankees. What fun.

Hetta repeatedly exercises quite impressively bad judgment, and, for a woman who prides herself on being strong and independent, and despite a willingness to be quite impressively rude sometimes, other times is depressingly polite when she needs to be assertive, because the plot requires her to agree to something a little normal rudeness would help her avoid.

She is also, for a woman who says men can't be trusted, amazingly trusting of men trying to put something over on her.

Honestly, I'm being a bit unfair. The plot would be fun if I didn't find Hetta so annoying. Also, the dog dies. Not by violence, or so Hetta can prove she's a responsible adult (good thing!), but still a cheap grab for emotion. Too many writers find it far too easy to kill the dog, and I don't like it. I would not have picked up this audiobook if I knew that there was a dog who would die in it.

But for people who don't find Hetta annoying, and who don't have my reaction to writers killing dogs for the easy emotion, this is probably a fun book.

I bought this audiobook.