A Dose of Murder Review
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Burned out after a few too many years as a nurse, Pauline Sokol finally cracks. She hands in her thermometers and tongue depressors and walks out the door. But then reality hits—she needs to find another job, but she’s not trained in anything but nursing. Fortunately, her roommate, Miles, has plenty of connections, and he hooks her up with a new job—in insurance fraud investigation.

Pauline’s first case is to prove that Tina Macaluso, a nurse and the wife of an orthopedic surgeon, made a fake Workers’ Compensation claim. Tina looks perfectly healthy, and all Pauline has to do is catch her lifting something heavy on film. It seems like a snap. But then gorgeous and mysterious Jagger shows up and gets Pauline involved in a much bigger case—one that includes big-time insurance fraud…and murder.

When I first started reading A Dose of Murder, I had a feeling it was something I’d enjoy. After all, it’s very similar to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels—frighteningly similar, even. Stephanie and Pauline are both 30-ish single women who walk away from their jobs and end up in some form of investigation (for which they’re totally unqualified and unprepared). They end up with the assistance of a quirky sidekick and two very different guys who are both attractive in their own way—and who don’t really get along. Both women are also close to their families (which include a meddling, constantly-cooking mother, an inattentive father, and a crazy old person).

Unfortunately, Pauline just isn’t someone the average reader will be able to relate to—or get behind. She’s cute and petite and naturally blonde. She weighs 115 pounds, and she’ll never be any larger, since she loves to exercise. And when it comes to her job, she’s possibly the least perceptive PI I’ve ever come across. Sure, she’s new at the whole investigation thing, but it was frustrating to feel like I was always a step ahead of her. Pauline isn’t lovably bumbling like Plum—she’s a perky airhead (imagine Chrissy from Three’s Company as a PI).

On the other hand, Avocato creates an interesting story, and the rest of the characters are satisfyingly silly (though they are a little too similar to Evanovich’s characters). And Pauline’s new, so I’m not going to give up on her yet. I just hope she smartens up a little bit before her next adventure…

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