In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I absolutely love the Miss Fortune series by Jana DeLeon. It’s even crazier and sillier than the Stephanie Plum series.
In the first book, Louisiana Longshot, CIA agent Fortune Redding is sent undercover to the small town of Sinful, Louisiana. Fortune killed the brother of a very powerful terrorist, who has now taken out a hit on her. Her boss has discovered that the terrorist has a man on the inside at the CIA, so he hides Fortune in the bayou until he can root out the mole. It’s a classic fish out of water story, but with spies, rednecks, moonshine, and alligators.
To quickly summarize books 1-16: By the time Fortune and the CIA take down the terrorist and the mole, she’s grown to love Sinful and her life there. Particularly, her two best friends, Ida Belle and Gertie. The two seem like such nice old ladies, but what most people don’t know is that they were spies in the Vietnam War. Ida Belle is a sharp shooter and Gertie’s handbag contains an arsenal. Both are members of the Sinful Ladies Society, which manufactures an herbal cough syrup that’s actually just moonshine. Fortune is in a relationship with Deputy Carter LeBlanc, who is also former special ops.
Bullets and Beads is the seventeenth book in the series. Deputy Carter LeBlanc forbids Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie from investigating a murder that happened at Sinful’s Mardi Gras parade. Obviously, they’re going to ignore him and find out who did it. But their investigation takes them to New Orleans, where Mardi Gras is in full swing. During the parade, Fortune thinks she sees her long dead father in the crowd. Then groups of men start following the trio and trying to kill them. Is it related to the Sinful murder or Fortune’s dad?
I had really high hopes for this book because we’ve seen how much trouble these three can get in under normal circumstances, so I figure Mardi Gras would top even their best escapades. There are a few ridiculous, laugh out loud moments, but not as many as I expected. This book was mainly character development for Fortune. It’s a good book and it helped advance the plot of the series. I just prefer the crazy, silly books.
Gators and Garters is the eighteenth book in the series. After 50 years of telling Walter she won’t marry him, Ida Belle has said yes, and the big day is almost here. All of the wedding plans are coming along nicely until the caterer goes missing. Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie are hired to investigate. But Molly’s wild life leaves them with a lot of suspects. Was it due to her time in prison? Her career as a cage fighter? Her deadbeat boyfriend? Deadbeat dad? Missing brother?
I liked Gators and Garters more than Bullets and Beads but I’m not sure why. Maybe because I’m so excited Ida Belle has finally said yes to Walter. Also, I love the friction between Gertie pushing for a traditional ceremony and Ida Belle pushing back with a full camo redneck celebration. The mystery in this book was far more interesting than the previous one, and unlike the last, it provided a lot of local color. Both books had cameos by my favorite character, Gertie’s “pet” alligator, Godzilla. He’s reason enough to read any book.