A Bad Day for Sorry: a Crime Novel by Sophie Littlefield

Stella Hardesty dispatched her abusive husband with a wrench shortly before her fiftieth birthday. A few years later, she’s so busy delivering home-style justice on her days off, helping other women deal with their own abusive husbands and boyfriends, that she barely has time to run her sewing shop in her rural Missouri hometown. Some men need more convincing than others, but it’s usually nothing a little light bondage or old-fashioned whuppin’ can’t fix. Since Stella works outside of the law, she’s free to do whatever it takes to get the job done—as long as she keeps her distance from the handsome devil of a local sheriff, Goat Jones.  Book Description

Although we’re told that Stella moonlights as something of an “unofficial” parole officer for abusers, it looks as if we’re actually going to see her in action mostly as an “unofficial” detective.  She makes references to men she’s disciplined and her methods for keeping tabs on them, but that’s background information; in A Bad Day for Sorry, Stella is focused on finding a missing child.  It all ties together in something reminiscent of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.  It’s darker and grittier and Stella has put in the work to be good at what she does, but there’s a similar self-deprecating sense of humor and supporting cast of quirky characters.  There’s also the cop who knows when to look the other way . . . love Goat Jones!

I don’t usually go for vigilante stories–even in fiction, I worry that justice will be visited upon the wrong person.  I also worry that dealing out the kind of justice Stella provides would eventually harden someone into an unrecognizable version of their previous self.  That said, Stella does her homework and only goes as far as she has to–she worries about the same things I do.  Love Stella!  I love her compassion, her sense of humor, her inner strength, and her ability to seriously kick ass.  I also love the fact that she’s not your typical heroine–she’s older, heavier than she’d like to be, and a bit rough around the edges.  Goat Jones and Big Johnson like her too–I can’t wait to see what Littlefield does with that!

Aside of the discomfort that came from rooting for a vigilante. the other thing that nagged me about the story is that I don’t believe that abusers stop abusing, even fictional ones subjected to Stella’s special brand of justice.  It is uplifting though, to see women discover their inner strength and decide to reclaim their lives.  It’s heartwarming to see women bond together to help each other out and that’s definitely part of the appeal of this book.

The mystery was okay but for the first time ever, except for the Stephanie Plum series, I was content to let the mystery unravel on its own–I was completely focused on Stella’s journey.   Looking forward to A Bad Day for Pretty, A Bad Day for Scandal and A Bad Day for Mercy.

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