By Diane Kelly
St. Martin’s Press, $7.99, 352 pages
Over the years, I’ve occasionally read what’s politely labeled Romance. For the record, romantic fiction scoops up the largest market share for any genre. So I approach Romance inexperienced but not a virgin. Yet Death, Taxes, and Extra-Strength Hold Hairspray by Diane Kelly took me by surprise. It’s not only emotionally honest in the way our heroine finds herself torn between two men, but also vastly amusing when our heroine turns out to be the Annie Oakley of IRS Agents.
She’s one of an elite team of dedicated government employees taking up arms against a potentially corrupt mega-church pastor who thinks he need never pay tax. There are also a few Libertarians who have asserted their independence and created their own sovereign patch of Texas. Put these scofflaws together and you’ve got yourself a tag team aiming to avoid handing over a cent in taxes to the government. Fortunately our heroine is not afraid to bend the rules of the land in pursuit of criminals, while debating how the rules of courtship should work when choices have to be made. I strongly recommend this as the first genuinely funny Romance with thriller overtones I can remember reading.
Reviewed by David Marshall