Time’s Up by Janey Mack

parking meter graphicTime’s Up: A Maisie MgGrane Mystery by Janey Mack (2015)

I enjoyed this as a nice read with humor and a good plot for a fun fiction read. It is the first in what will be a series focusing on the single daughter of a pair of cop/lawyer parents with five brothers, also split between cops and lawyers. At least I think five brothers, it was hard to keep track. The first handful of pages grated on me a bit because of excessive analogies, but they smoothed out and were not intrusive as I went on. The series takes place in Chicago.

The writing was quite nice, a pleasure to read with pop culture references that I always enjoy, and quite a bit of clever dialog. I was never once tempted to flip to the back and call it done. The journey of the story was fun, and I read every line. No massive chunks of descriptive prose with no actual purpose! Yay. [contrasted with Dave Eggers The Circle I recently finished and reviewed in a another post].

If you have never read Janet Evanovich you will really like this book. If you have read Janet Evanovich, you will like this book – but – you will have to pack her Plum novels into a cupboard to avoid the distractedly similar character elements and context.

For example, the protagonist ends up with two potential (mercifully one requited immediately; unlike the 10 or so it seemed like for Plum to get laid) love interests. Both smart, handsome respectful, great in bed, rich and richly equipped with arsenals or access to necessary data on crooks and miscreants to make it possible for Maisie to solve the crimes. One is a mysterious mercenary and one a cop. Yeah, a little too on the nose but there it is.

I recall Evanovich got a lot a flack for her black sidekick character who was always packing an extra 50 plus pounds into too tight clothes and “speaking” in a “black patois” referring constantly to her former life as a “ho'” which was an unnecessary “profession” for her to have been before working with Plum.

Similarly, one of the characters in this series had an odd “blackish” name but was not definitively identified as black until late in the book. However, with her incorrect speech patterns, this woman, Maisie’s supervisor, clearly was stereotypically an in your face abrasive smart ass black woman not with the sinewy slenderness of a fashion model. Sigh.

There is even an elderly woman character not quite equivalent to the Plum grandmother character.

— SPOILER ALERT —

On the plus side, Maisie is competent and ends up a “meter maid” because she is cheated out of graduating from the police academy. It is a nice combination of police professional and somewhat amateur detective combination.

It was, alas, inevitable that Maisie would leave the large group of people to end up alone where a bad guy could attack her. The way was carefully prepped for her to have been injured enough and in a dress and high heels to make it forgivable for doing so, of course leaving her cell phone back at the table full of people. AKA “obstacles” that heroes must overcome. Like the Plum character who always ends up fumbling her bond jumpers and having her cars get blown up, Maisie seems to have a talent for getting physically hurt as her main “obstacles” in the plot.

Despite the deja vu aspects, I STILL ENJOYED the story, the characters, the dialog, and the humor and I look forward to reading more books by Janey Mack.

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