It’s not great literature, but it is a fun read. Fifi Cutter could be a diminutive reincarnation of  Sara Paretsky’s  V. I.  Warshawski with the same smart mouth, wry humor and excellent comic timing. She is also smart and resourceful as she investigates a man who hijacked a small plane and crashed it, killing all four people onboard, as well as a retiree who was sitting on the porch of his doublewide.

Fifi is an insurance adjuster who works for a lawyer, Reg Wong. His firm represents the families of the Chinese businessmen who were on the plane, and her friend, Victoria, represents the man who was killed on the ground. It’s up to Fifi and her deadbeat half brother, Bosco to help the lawyers prove that the charter plane company and the plane’s manufacturer are liable.  

Complications abound in this rollicking, smart mystery as Fifi gets caught up in a scheme to fix the $60 million wrongful death lawsuit, and Bosco gets caught up with Violet Fang one of the plaintiffs. Then Fifi has a date, well not really a date, just a ride home from the courthouse from Dan. Gorgeous Dan who has looked at her more than once with interest. Problem is, the look has come from the defense table where he is ensconced with his client, Skyblu Aviation.  

How Fifi and her brother unravel the snarls of the case and their personal life is laced with humor, and these characters are anything but stereotypical. There is also enough meat to the story to please those who read a book for more than the funny lines. Even as the case goes to the jury, Fifi and Bosco race against time to stop a scheme of extortion, kidnapping, and murder.

The back of the book blurb contains one of the funniest bits in the book, and also reveals a lot about Fifi’s character. “That crazy fool iced five people and offed himself. Now he’s gonna show up at the pearly gates at the exact same time as all those dudes he just killed. What’s gonna happen? I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen,” I said, crossing my arms. “He ain’t gettin’ in.”

Gwen Freeman is a lawyer practicing in Los Angeles, specializing in insurance law. She also represents death row inmates in their last appeals and was recently successful in obtaining relief for the longest resident of California’s  Death Row. The first Fifi Cutter book was Murder…Suicid…Whatever.

Ms Freeman is also a noted artist and her work has been shown in galleries nationwide. Her work has been featured on the sets of Frasier, The O.C.; The Sweetest Thing; American Pie II; and Daddy Day Care. For more information visit www.gwenfreeman.com

Crazy Fool Kills Five: A Fifi Cutter Mystery by Gwen Freeman
ISBN: 978-0979996009
Publisher: Capital Crime Press
Date of publish: May 1, 2008
Pages: 280  -  $14.95

Maryann Miller Maryann’s Web site

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