Killing Bridezilla: When Nancy Drew Meets Romy's High School Reunion


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Thumbnail image for killing bridezilla.jpgWhen I first laid eyes on Laura Levine’s new Jaine Austen mystery, Killing Bridezilla, I was skeptical. As an adolescent I avoided mysteries at all costs. Poor Nancy Drew collected dust on the shelf, while I devoured every book in the Sweet Valley High series. But like a bridezilla to Manolos, this mystery pulled me in with a supernatural-like force.

Since I stay clear of my library’s mystery section, I never read any of Laura Levine’s books and didn’t know what to expect. The cover cartoon of a bride in a coffin sent shivers down my spine and brought about visions of my own untimely demise. But all my misconceptions about mysteries stopped when I read the first page. It’s a snappy, humorous read, not a dark warning to bridezillas.

Jaine Austen is a part-time writer of toilet ads (very unbridezilla) and part-time private investigator. When Jaine’s archnemesis Patty Marshall hires her out of the blue to write her wedding vows, Jaine’s first instinct is to say no. But with a dwindling bank account and a lucrative offer from Patti, Jaine takes the assignment and ends up with a much bigger problem on her hands when bridezilla bites the big one.

Patti is the uberbridezilla. She screams at the caterer over a romaine lettuce mix-up and asks Jaine to rewrite the wedding vows multiple times. The only thing longer than her list of demands is her list of enemies. No mystery here; it’s obvious from the beginning that bridezilla will go down. What’s not so obvious is who did the deed.

After bridezilla’s dramatic death, Jaine switches gears from writer to detective, determined to find her killer. As she searches for the murderer, she’s forced into hilarious situations – including the Hermosa High School Reunion – an event Jaine hoped to avoid at all costs.

Jaine can’t help but to make light of her own shortcomings as she encounters old classmates. That’s what I love about this mystery. All women, on some level can relate to Jaine. Sure, bridezillas cover up their awkward years the way you would a pimple, but most of us have a few choice moments we’d like to forget. Jaine over-indulges at the appetizer table (guilty), she makes up a neurosurgeon fiance (who hasn’t?) and she sets a toupee on fire (if I knew someone with a toupee, believe me, it would be in flames).

Jaine’s ability to poke fun at herself makes this a great read and turned me into a Laura Levine fan for life. This titillating book kept me up way past my usual bedtime (a sign of any great mystery) and made me giggle out loud. As I turned the pages, I wanted to know who the killer was and what shinnanagins Jaine would get into next. All in all, it earns a well-deserved bridezilla B+.

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