St. Martin's, June 2003, 23.95, 224 pp.
One day after getting off the San Francisco Muni Train, Nicola thinks she sees her ex-husband who she hasn't laid eyes on for three years. From there her day goes downhill rapidly with a cranky boss and an irate customer. When she goes out to her usual restaurant for lunch, she meets the man she has been non-verbally flirting with for weeks and they finally talk. He asks her out on a date but though she is tempted, she chickens out.
The next bad happening is when two college students kidnap her and by the time Nicola convinces them she has no idea what is going on, they become nervous and call the man who hired them. Just as she suspected, the man turns out to be Scooter who wants to borrow money from her to pay off a loan shark. She agrees to talk to the bookie's nephew who turns out to be a good looking and attractive man who wants to be a food critic. They start dating but the man who Nicola turned downed at the restaurant is looking for her because she's a loose end that needs tying up before he gets out of the snuff film business.
12 BLISS STREET is a funny upbeat chick-lit mystery starring a feisty resolute woman determined not to lose control in any situation. The villain is vile in a funky kind of way but the funniest character is the ex-husband who is always trying to reach for the gold ring only to find it's made foolishly of brass. Martha Conway is writing for the thirty-something crowd who will adore this work.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner