Review of Just Add Salt (Hetta Coffey mystery series, #1)

Blurb: Hetta Coffey is a globe-trotting civil engineer with attitude who is working on coming of age, a little late. Pushing forty and still single, Hetta is the epitome of the b word: bold, bossy, brassy, breezy and brash. After leaving a lifelong swath of failed multi-national affairs in her jet stream, it is no wonder Hetta prefers living with her dog R.J. But old habits die hard, and trolling for triceps is Hetta s hobby. Plying the waterfront in search of Saturday brunch, Hetta s attention is snagged by a parade of passing yacht--especially their predominantly male skippers--and experiences a champagne-induced epiphany: if she had a boat, she could get a man. In hopes a floating Valhalla will overcome an all-time low-water mark in her life, Hetta buys her dream boat in spite of a spectacular ignorance of all things nautical. But a shadowy stalker, an inconvenient body, and Hetta s own self-destructive foibles imperil not only her new life, but a newly- found romance.

...with so much spunk Hetta Coffey would get you laughing so hard you might tip overboard. (Another reason why you wouldn't want to read an aquatic related book on an Aquatic habitat.)

Jinx Schwartz has got so much humor and isn't afraid to use it. All my life, there are two authors that really, really, make me laugh and it's no wonder these two writers have books similar to Just Add Salt. Janet Evanovich and Sarah Strohmeyer. No, it isn't like I only laugh-no, sorry-guffaw and clutch my ribs praying they won't snap reading about Chickroines with so much temerity and chutzpah. But can you blame me? There's nothing thrilling than reading a chicklit number with a lead who isn't afraid of a little adventure (or a not-so-little adventure as in Hetta's case).

If you are like me and looking just to have a good laugh and more than a little adventure, Hetta Coffey would give just that (and more if you are willing to read all through the fifth book in the series.)

So Hetta has got a yacht and isn't afraid to use it. But since this is the first installment in the series, we get to know why she had the yacht (How, when comes into place when you want to consider humor). Because it's one of the most unlikely situations to revolve a storyline around (which makes for good reading ). Why would a woman want to own a yacht in hopes of getting a man? I am finding it hard to get women these days. Always looking for ingenious ways to meet the perfect man. Gone are those days when major manhunt began in singles bars.

(As Hetta puts it: Besides, it had been my experience that the only thing most men in singles bars have in common is they’re married. Some of them to each other.)

But unlike most characters, you can't judge Hetta as shallow (for wanting to incessantly find a guy) because it took a series of (dangerous) events to make her decision of getting a boat final.

The book starts with a racy/fast-paced scene that renders doubts that this might be chicklit. The prologue is told in third-person of a guy named Hudson who is escaping after swindling cash and some secret-y stuff from some shady people he does equally shady business with. It's entertaining (highly), adrenaline lacing through your blood and all (Thanks to Jinx's description). But then it continues to the first chapter in a first-person viewpoint of a girl. By then you've got really hooked onto this Hudson guy and then you start thinking, "Another one of those books with a exciting prologue, but no action thereafter." And how silly you will be, if you are not curious enough to make the connection (Hey, not me. If I didn't make the connection I wouldn't be writing this review).

That's when we meet Hetta. The girl so opinionating and not willing to hold back (on her views about so many things you'd find amusing-from men, dogs to dawgs). She's become a civil engineer after dropping art and Swahili as her majors. She so ostentatious you'd love her voice which is a mix of snobbish aristocracy topped with lots of utter shittiness. She lives with her dog, RJ who has its own VW (eat your heart out, Amanda Brown!). She owns twenty credit cards (Don't laugh if you know anyone who has more. I don't). And she is single and mingling a lot in company of her friend Jan who is so funny she's still hooked on to BDR (Big Dick Richard, as Hetta calls him).

We later find out that this Hetta, five years ago, was the bride Hudson had ditched.

The novel starts out as four Sex And The City girls prowling for men in the most unlikely places. Except these girls are outnumbered by Candace Bushnell's lead girls. They are only Hetta and Jan who have been best buds for over fifteen years. All is well with the two as long as they are both single and can both face (the world and) Jan's meterosexual ex, BDR from making Jan the miserable girl she is when he is back in her life (as Hetta argues).

Everything is fun until RJ is mercy-killed when he is diagnosed of bone cancer.

It gets more fun.

Jan gets involved with Lars, one of the Jenkins brothers Hetta hates so much. And Hetta goes through a mid-life crisis triggered by fears from the return of Hudson, who is back with unknown reasons tampering with her state-of-the-art security system. And to make matters worse, she's been fired after a coworker who has always been in it to kick her arse out frames defraud charges. Gee, I must have forgotten she's not sure she's a drunkard being the queen of bacchanalia and her waistline is expanding!

Now not only does Hetta decide on living in a boat, she has to deal with Garrison, a guy who falsely owns the boat she has to buy and who spreads false news about being with Hetta (if you know what I mean). And the other annoying Jenkins who doesn't notice her (or is pretending not to notice her).

It's amusing How Hetta can forget about all her troubles (add an attempt on her life to the list) and focus on this Bob Jenkins guy. Or is this Bob Jenkins guy too hot to make you forget two partners in International crime are on your tail? I am not sure. But that's Hetta. She's that crazy most of the time.

This book is a mix of all the hilarious characters you could think of. From the Trob who wouldn't make more than a one-word phrase to Allison the lawyer friend who is always looking for a case (in Hetta's life) and the loan officer friend, Aline Watson who only Hetta seeks when she needs a loan to Mother and Father who are worried Hetta hasn't had sex since Hudson (Five years?! I know!) to Martinez, the detective who scribbles 'pants on fire' in his notepad when an interogatee (I can say that if Hetta is queen of neologism) is lying.

My rating is... (drumroll)....
five out of five stars.

I couldn't stop laughing. So don't be surprised if you find a quotes from Hetta Coffey handle on twitter.

Just Add Water is available at Amazon in ebook and PAPERBACK.

And I wouldn't say it through an email, out loud, "Jinx Schwartz I want to review all the books in the series!"

My work here not done. Off to post on Goodreads.

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