Saturday, October 22, 2011

Things Get Crazy in 'Citizen Insane'

Review: CITIZEN INSANE (Books on the Green 2011)
Author: Karen Cantwell

In this sequel to TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN, suburban soccer mom and wanna-be online film reviewer Barbara Marr is merely seeking a nice relaxing foot massage at a day spa. She and her good friend and neighbor, Roz, are supposed to go to one together and be pampered. However, a slightly crazy dizzy weird woman named Bunny (yes, really!) shows up in her yard. And she's turning around in circles, muttering to herself.

Now, on top of throwing a kink into Barbara's plans to hit the spa, it doesn't help that Bunny matches this description: "Towering close to six feet tall, she had a Cindy Crawford body and talked all breathy as if she were trying to be sexy, but really it just sounded like she was always on the verge of an asthma attack."

Keep in mind that Barbara has separated from her husband, Howard. In the first book, she found out he's an FBI agent and kept it secret from her like forever. Sound familiar? True lies. And she's a film nut buff fan. Get it? Anyhow ...

Also, keep in mind that Barbara has seen Howard with some mysterious blonde in a very nice restaurant. She calls the blonde the Fiorenza Floozy, because that's the name of the restaurant and, well, you know what they say about assumptions ... because Howard does look like George Clooney, after all.

So, Barbara's got a whole lot on her mind. And it's driving her a bit nuts to say the least.

This is creating a communication problem with her teenage daughter, but not (unfortunately) her mother, who insists on showing up at Barbara's door (unannounced) and giving her (honest and unsolicited) opinion (about everything).

Then, to top it off, her friend Roz asks for her help in resolving a problem with the school yearbook. And it involves attending the PTA meeting. Oh, my God!

If you think legislatures and high diplomatic circles are the only places where political games go on, you would be so wrong! Those guys are rank amateurs compared to the ladies of the PTA. And, as with all political games, you never know who's on what side or why.

High drama ensues when a couple of ladies get into it in a major way, after the meeting.

And I haven't even mentioned the part about the dead person yet. Oh, my God!

Let's just say that it puts Bunny in an uncomfortable position. And Barbara can't seem to keep her out of the house.

Is it a really a spoiler to say the two of them end up working together to figure out who really dun it?

It all culminates into a wild and over-the-top ending that pays homage to various television shows and films.

In short, CITIZEN INSANE is a mystery that cleverly combines over-the-top plotting and suspense with film homages and dashes of poignancy. This book will keep you laughing and turning the pages right up to its surprise ending.

PS: Barbara, word of advice. Crazy people aren't terribly reliable or good at coming up with plans. Next time, just pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1. Okay? :)

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