Review: Dying to Get Published by Judy Fitzwater

Jennifer Marsh is a mystery writer with a stack of eight unpublished manuscripts and rejection letters to match filling her closet.  She’s sure that if she can just get famous for something, someone will have to publish her books.  Why not murder?

She’ll find a target so mean that she’d actually be doing the world a favour by bumping him or her off.  And she knows just the person: Penney Richmond, a high-powered literary agent who’s made it her job to ruin people’s lives. All Jennifer has to do is frame herself, do the deed, and come out with an iron-clad alibi, and she’ll be well on her way to getting a three bookdeal.  So what if she chickens out  at the last-minute?  A vegetarian good girl who rescued a greyhound could never actually kill someone.

But when Penney is found murdered and the police think Jennifer did it,  she’d better find the real murderer before she goes away… for life.

Along with her eccentric writer’s group, spunky old ladies with  a nose for sleuthing, her neurotic greyhound, and a sexy, sarcastic reporter named Sam, Jennifer embarks on a journey filled with danger, deception, and  disguises that could leave her Dying to Get Published…

I loved this book from the moment I started reading it. Jennifer Marsh is such a funny, relatable character (maybe just because I’m also an aspiring writer) who you can’t help going along with.

It’s not the most nail-biting, suspenseful book, but it’s so hard to put down. It puts the comedy in murder-mystery, and leaves out all the boring blood and gore.

What makes this story so great is the fact that half of it seems to be going on in Jenny’s head. She keeps thinking back to the character she created, Maxie, and how she’s not as brave or smart as her. But in reality, as the story goes on she turns out to be a lot more like her character than she thought – and her life is just as, if not more exciting than her writing.

There’s also her unborn / not-conceived / imaginary child, Jaimie (boy / girl?), who she keeps thinking back to whenever she gets herself in trouble. When love interest Sam turns up, who is investigating another death; there might be a chance of Jaimie coming into existence yet. But of course, Jenny gets him wrapped up in her plans too.

You almost wonder if the mystery will be solved because most of Jenny’s time is spent sneaking around in weird costumes with her writer friends and thinking up odd schemes. But with the help of Emmie, a seemingly sweet old lady, eventually the mystery begins to unravel, and she makes the book so much funnier. She’s like a retired CIA detective with her group of old-lady-agents. They have their own code words and make better detectives than the real ones. It makes you wonder what your grandma’s really up to when she says she’s going to bingo.

By the end of the book the mystery is solved and everything is resolved for now. But it still leaves you wondering what will happen between Jenny and Sam, if Jenny ever gets a novel published, and what trouble she’s going to get herself into next. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series – Dying to Get Even.

Dying to Get Published is the first of a six-book series, The Jennifer Marsh Mysteries, by Judy Fitzwater.

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