Friday, June 3, 2011

Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

Book description:
Seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs come hell or high water. In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences.

Marylou has been plotting her revenge for fifty years. When she accidentally discovers his whereabouts in Florida, her plans finally snap into action. She high tails it to hot and humid Tallahassee, moves in down the block from where a now senile Spriggs lives with his daughter’s family, and begins the tricky work of insinuating herself into their lives. But she has no idea what a nest of yellow jackets she is stum­bling into.

Before the novel is through, someone will be kidnapped, an unlikely couple will get engaged, someone will nearly die from eating a pineapple upside-down cake laced with anti-freeze, and that’s not all...

Despite a wonderful title, entertaining premise, and funny opening, this book ultimately fell flat for me. Billed as a comedy, this book takes too many dark turns for me to find it amusing. Plotting and maybe even carrying out revenge on the doctor that tricked you into participating in secret government research- perfectly fine and potentially funny. Turning your attentions to ruining the lives of his already fragile grandchildren when you discover he is afflicted with Alzheimers- not OK and not at all funny.

This read like two separate stories to me- one a serious and interesting look at family disfunction, one an amusing tale of revenge. When combined into one book though, neither story as allowed to live up to its potential. 3 stars.

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