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    Review of BUBBLES ABLAZE by Sarah Strohmeyer (see her website)

    Dutton, July, 2003

    Bubbles Yablonsky just wants a weekend of sin and sex with her boyfriend Steve Stiletto. When she gets a fax from her newspaper boss telling her to pursue a murder, she wants to blow it off--but Stiletto hasn't shown and Bubbles is a reporter, willing to do whatever it takes to get the story. The fax was a fraud, but the murder was real--real enough that the killer nearly got Bubbles and Stiletto with the same mine disaster. Now Bubbles needs to track down the truth--and write the kick-ass story that will get her byline in major press. But everyone seems anxious to keep her away from the story and everything seems to conspire to keep her from ever getting Stiletto in the sack.

    Bubbles Yablonsky, combination reporter/hair stylist, is a charming character--a woman who loves her daughter but wouldn't be caught dead without the right makeup and high-heeled shoes. Her quest for the truth in a world where women have perfected the nag and feed spell to keep their men under control, where the police chief is bugging all the town's phones, and where everyone seems related and knows everyone's business is funny and sympathetic.

    Author Sara Strohmeyer (see more reviews of novels by Strohmeyer) delivers the goods in this fast-paced comic mystery. Between the Celtic ruins of Pennsylvania, references to the Molly McGuire gang of the 19th century, and the ever-burning coal fire deep in the mineshafts under Limbo, PA, Strohmeyer's offers a fascinating world that has enough nuggets of truth to compell interest. Although Bubbles sometimes comes off as purely silly, her concern for her family (especially too-smart for her own good daughter Jane), jealous affection toward Stiletto, and love for her odd mother and cousin, make the reader identify and sympathize.

    A few research error crop do crop up--I am still trying to picture how Stiletto fit in the back seat of a Miata. They don't have back seats. Trust me, you won't care. Still, I'm not sure I'm ready to try out any of Bubbles's beauty secrets.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 8/25/03

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