Monday, March 27, 2017

Aloha to Weekly Winners, Elaine Viets, and Shop Till You Drop Mystery Series


We have winners at SOS Aloha!  Jane wins a digital copy of HOT AS ICE.  Natasha wins a book choice from my convention stash.

I am also a winner by discovering Elaine Viets' SHOP TILL YOU DROP series:

Once on the fast track to success, Helen Hawthorne is now going nowhere fast. She traded in her chic life for a shabby one. And now she's on the fun, jumping from city to city and dead-end job to dead-end job, trying to stay one step ahead of her past...

Elaine penned 15 novels in this series unfolding in Fort Laurderdale, Florida.  Since I grew up in nearby Miami, I enjoyed the novels' backdrop.  As Elaine wrote in her acknowledgements, she has worked in every one of these dead end jobs.  I could related to Helen's experience as an "invisible" persona while rich clients walk over the employees providing service.  I can relate - I worked as a waitress, receptionist, and data clerk for minimum wage during college.    

Elaine follows the pattern for cozy mysteries - the heroine discovers a body; once she becomes a suspect, she is motivated to find the real killer; the plot includes a few red herrings; the heroine finds herself in danger but solves the crime.  Yet Elaine has a distinct writing style - she pulls the reader into the plot with dead pan observations that poke fun at pop culture while making a subtle statement of social issues.  Elaine's writing style is like a fine wine - I had to develop a taste for it.  The South Florida locale kept me reading .... and I eventually found myself cheering for Helen and her downtrodden coworkers.  I also learned a tip or two about upscale clothes boutiques, chain book stores, pet accessory shop, and hotel maid service.  

The creme de la creme was Helen's adopted cat - Thumbs is a polydactyl.  The fictional Thumbs may be a descendant of Ernest Hemingway's famous felines ... the real Thumbs is cared by a librarian.

From Goodreads (link),

As a young girl, Elaine Viets was taught the virtues of South St. Louis: the importance of hard work, housecleaning, and paying cash. She managed to forget almost everything she learned, which is why she turned to mystery writing.

Living in South Florida has not improved her character. But it has given her the bestselling Dead-End Job series. Like her amateur detective, Helen Hawthorne, Elaine actually works those rotten jobs. Perhaps her early training has given her a lifelong fascination with jobs. She and Helen both know working for a living can be murder.

Learn more about Elaine and her books, including other mystery series, check out her website at

I am giving away a book choice to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Have you worked at a dead end job?  If yes, what did you love about it?  Loathe about it?

2. Comments are open through Sunday, April 2, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, April 3.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City



  1. Congratulations, Jane and Natasha. Enjoy.
    I worked at Kirkland's one holiday season. I knew I wasn't going to advance, but was doing it for the shopping. Our daughter was getting married and I was using my discount (and my paycheck) to buy the items I needed to decorate for the wedding. Did some Christmas shopping while I was at it. What I didn't like about it was the manager. She was young and most of the other clerks were about the same age. They would all disappear in the back and I was often the only one on the floor and register.

  2. Thanks so much. Can't say I've had a dead end job, but have worked at some weird summer jobs.

  3. My last job was not only a dead end job it was also a thankless one. I quit.

  4. It wasn't really a dead end job as much as a temporary one to make some extra money for Christmas. But I did learn when I waitressed was a certain group of people mistook waitress for personal servant.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  5. Years ago I did....I looked for another job. Congrats to the winner.

  6. I did as a student but none since then. I guess working at the Senior Cafe is a dead end job but who cares?

  7. I did at my first real job out of college. Hated it. Wasn't a good fit for me.

    I was first introduced to Elaine Viets's writing through her Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series. I actually tried mystery shopping. Josie's job was much more exciting. I hated it. I know some love it and a few eek out a living doing it. Not me.


  8. Not sure I ever had a dead end job - but I had a few temporary ones as a teenager that I never could have stayed at. But they were just summer jobs between school years.

  9. Waving from St. Louis! I read Elaine as a child when she had a column in the local paper. So funny, I had to follow her into fiction. Don't enter me in the drawing as I believe I have or have read all the Dead End books.
    I've worked retail in a large department store--talk about abused! The customers don't respect you and the managers can consider you easily replaceable. I've had a great retail bookselling job--and was paid to be around books all day! I felt I was getting away with something myself.
    Thanks for featuring Elaine Viets.

  10. I'm at one now. It's part time. I should be making more but it is very close and when there's down time I can even read so a definite plus there.

  11. I've had dead end jobs and it motivated me to go to college.

  12. Of course. It was part time that is why I liked it.

  13. Hi, Kim, Elaine Viets here. I'm delighted you discovered my Dead-End Job series and you're giving away SHOP TILL YOU DROP. The more I worked those dead-end jobs, the more I wondered how service people and sales staff could stay so good-humored. Thanks again,

  14. I worked summer jobs thru college - one was packaging Wilkinson Sword razors & razor blades. Once out of college, I would classify one as a dead end - I was supposed to have more technical computer training, but that never happened - left there after 2.5 years.

  15. I was a waitress and it was a tough job.