By Denise Baton


People are excited about Kris Neri, the two-time recipient of the prestigious DERRINGER AWARD for short mystery fiction. Kris Neri’s first book is the now well-known award winning REVENGE OF THE GYPSY QUEEN, nominated for the AGATHA, ANTHONY and MACAVITY Awards for Best First Novel. REVENGE OF THE GYPSY QUEEN introduced Neri’s amateur sleuth, Tracy Eaton. The eagerly-awaited second in the series, DEM BONES’ REVENGE, promises to be an even bigger success. I read it and laughed uproariously on several occasions and chortled all the way through.

Tracy Eaton’s day starts off with phone call from her editor informing Tracy that they are going to kill her series. If that were her only problem maybe she could focus and get those changes in by Wednesday. But some lunkhead is pounding the hell out of her walls because it’s the only time he can fit it into his busy contractor’s schedule.

On top of that, Tracy receives a call and hears that voice, the one that thrills you on the silver screen… synonymous with sex and glamour, the one that entices you over the radio to buy overpriced cat food; it’s Martha Collins! Yes, Martha Collins, Tracy Eaton’s mom, has starred in every B movie from HARD KNOCKS UNIVERSITY to LOOK TO THE LIGHT, all culminating in a STRANGE JOURNEY, and she’s a living encyclopedia of movie philosophy. Picture Norma Desmond on a cocktail combination of Prozac and meth-amphetamines packing TNT for backup and you’ll get an idea of the cyclonic character of Martha Collins. Not that Tracy’s mom is on drugs. Who needs drugs when your every waking hour is an unfolding action/comedy/drama? Oh, did I forget the word mystery? The mysteries that unfold in DEM BONES’ REVENGE are too numerous to count, but each is woven artistically into the very net and fiber of Tracy Eaton’s psyche. Poor thing, with her childhood it’s a wonder she hasn’t been repeatedly institutionalized. Cut of the same cloth of her mother, she’ll be damned if she’ll allow herself to be bested by her, but she’ll have to be pretty sly not to be taken in by one of her schemes.

One of my favorite scenes is when Tracy and Martha pose as hookers so the cops will pick them up and save them from pursuing madmen. I don’t want to give away one precious moment or twist because the plot is a hundred times more fun than an E-ride at Disneyland and the bitter indictment of the film industry is pumped full of truisms. In the end, Tracy and her mom are fighting for what’s right. Oh, and so is Drew, Tracy’s husband, and Philly, Tracy’s uncle and dad, of course; oh, and don’t forget the dog, or the F.B.I.

Read DEM BONES’ REVENGE and enjoy the ride.

Copyright © 2000 Denise Baton