Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly

September 22, 2018     Elle    

Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure by Diane KellyDeath, Taxes, and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Series: Tara Holloway Series #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks Genres: Chick Lit, Cozy Mystery
Pages: 341
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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My Rating : four-stars


Tara Holloway has got your number. A special agent on the IRS’s payroll, she’s dead-set on making sure that money crimes don’t pay…

Tax cheats, beware: The Treasury Department’s Criminal Investigations Division has a new special agent on its payroll. A recovering tomboy with a head for numbers, Tara’s fast becoming the Annie Oakley of the IRS—kicking ass, taking social security numbers, and keeping the world safe for honest taxpayers. Or else.
Tara’s latest mission finds her in hot pursuit of ice-cream vendor Joseph “Joe Cool” Cullen. Along with frozen treats he’s selling narcotics—and failing to report his ill-gotten gains on his tax returns. Over Tara’s dead body. Then there’s Michael Gryder, who appears to be operating a Ponzi scheme…with banker Stan Shelton…whose lake house is being landscaped by Brett Ellington…who happens to be dating Tara. If following that money trail isn’t tough enough, now Tara must face a new conundrum: Should she invest her trust in Brett—or put him behind bars? New love always comes at a cost but justice? Priceless.

I enjoyed this book. Really, I did. But it took me an entire week to read it! This has nothing to do with the books length either as it’s under 350 pages, and nothing to do with the plot or characters- both were great. I just had no desire to read it from start to finish and I didn’t care when I had to put it down. Being in a major book slump hasn’t helped and neither have the holidays and upcoming holidays. It’s just my mood wasn’t in it. Sigh… Had I really been in the mood to read this one I think I would have LOVED it. But for now, I’ll go ahead and say it was good but not GREAT because it simply didn’t captivate me the way I wanted it to. 

Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure is the first book in the Tara Holloway series. While it’s not really a cozy mystery I think it’s close enough to the genre to be categorized there. I would also say it’s a bit chick lit and crime. Think Stephanie Plum but instead of being a bonds agent she is a IRS/tax agent. 

In this book, we meet Tara Holloway. The author does a wonderful job at bringing her to life as well as bringing us all knowledge of taxes, how the IRS works, and the kind of fraud that takes place. Overall, I think the authors knowledge was great and I certainly learned a lot as a reader but the problem was I didn’t want to learn while I was reading. I wanted something cute, fun, and entertaining. However, what we get is a LOT of information and little entertainment. 

Tara being the heroine of the book/series is great. I really enjoyed her character and the way she pulled undercover work. Her sharp shooting was an additional bonus and I like how she has the smarts and brawn in a world were women are probably not as dominant as men. It is because of her that I intend to continue on in the series- I want to see what she gets into next! 

There is a bit of a romance in this one as well, which I really liked. Brett and Tara met unexpectedly at a party and really hit it off. However, Tara was in her mind so much that she didn’t know whether she could trust Brett or not and this really got to me. Why can’t we just TALK to our significant other about our concerns instead of ignoring it!?!? This irks me in all books and unfortunately took place in this one too. 

With that, I will say that the book was good and I do look forward to reading the second one based on the heroine herself. However, if there is too much information and less action and fun then I will not finish the series after that. 


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