A Justified Bitch
A Las Vegas Mystery
by H.G. McKinnis
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Pub Date 08 Aug 2017 | Archive Date 09 Oct 2018
When a severed finger shows up on her doorstep in a seedy section of Las Vegas, Helen Taylor does not freak out. She’s already crazy, as evidenced by her junk-stuffed house and its ever-growing population of cats. There’s also Bobby, her long-dead husband. Helen talks to him regularly, and Bobby talks back.
The finger and the brutal murder it reveals are more than a hoarding cat lady with a phantom husband can ignore. Helen’s a suspect, and she ends up in jail. Summoned by the detective on the case, Helen’s sister Pat arrives from Phoenix with two teen-age boys in tow.
While Helen is AWOL from a mental facility, another gruesome murder is discovered. Pat, the boys, and the detective struggle to separate fact from insanity, but it takes power beyond the ordinary to bring the truth to light.
A Note From the Publisher
Average rating from 80 members
I love reading books, in which you can't tell who the real culprit is. "A Justified Bitch" is this kind of book.
It's not that I didn't suspect the guilty party (because I did), but there wasn't much evidence to support this theory. But let's start from beginning.
Welcome in Las Vegas - city of sin. Meet Helen Taylor and her twenty-something cats. You want to know Helen Taylor? She is a (little) crazy lady who saw murderer of her neighbor. The problem is, she doesn't remember what she remember, as her sister, Pat, is saying. Or maybe she does remember, but is afraid to say it? You want to know why she is seen as crazy? Well... she happens to talk to her dead husband Bobby. Jake Madison is the cop in charge of the investigation. He knows that Helen saw something and wants to help her remember. He is pretty sure, that Helen didn't do what is suspected of her, but none the less would like to know where she is at all times, but she doesn't need to be in jail. They find her sister, and call her to come for her. After talking to Jake, Pat leaves Helen in mind care facility, hoping it will help her to remember what happened, and they would know she is safe.
But then, there is second murder and Helen isn't where she should be. The case is nobody knows where she went to, and those who knows aren't know to the police. She once again becomes number one suspect. She finally knows who is the real culprit and wants to confront him. Jordan, her nephew, wants to take her to police station, but she is adamant. In the end the culprit is dead and Helen promises to take better care of herself.
It's sad how she didn't remember she and Bobby had son. I guess it was her mind way of dealing with Bobby's death. Good, that Pat wanted Marc in her family, I don't want to even imagine what could happen with him, had he stayed with Helen. He probably wouldn't be as good as with Pat, but there is possibility that Helen would be... ekhem... less crazy ;P. But what happened, happened and we can't change the past, only the future. And it seems that Helen's future is looking brighter than in last decade. The book shows that family is everything, even when they haven't seen each other in years, and you always can count on them.
Do you want to know who is guilty? Then I suggest you read the book :)
I would recommend this book for every fan of suspence and mystery - you definitely won't be disappointed :)
Helen is my kind of girl. After witnessing the death of her husband, she has literally gone off the deep end. Her sister is called in after Helen is potential witness to her neighbor's murder. Helen sees but doesn't recognize her own son. We learn the value of swap meet treasures, and unsavory jailbirds who can be your best friends in time of need. I absolutely loved this book. Characters are outstanding.
This is the My first book review for Netgalley. I was a little worried on which one to pick, but when i seen "Bitch" in the title, I thought "That has to be the one"!! How could that not catch your eye, right?!
This book was refreshingly different than most books i have read lately! It's not the serious action packed thriller mystery you might be expecting. I was actually relieved when it turned out to be funny! It was almost like Okay i can take a breath, relax, and just enjoy the book.
The first half of the book is hilarious, an eccentric hoarding cat lady is not quite sure if she witnessed the hooker's next door murder or not. She's not stupid she remembers things, but sometimes She doesn't remember what she remembers! Between laughing about the flirty cop, her jealous dead husband & the night she spent in jail, somehow you get drawn into this deeper heartfelt story where you can always count on Family to be there when you need them! Surprisingly enough it's actually the teenage boys that pull you in and make you want to understand more about Helen, her condition, and the crazy roller coaster ride that is her life.
This book gives you all the feels a great book should dish out, from laughing one minute, shedding a few tears the next (Darn you Marc and that picture box!), joy when you see everything coming together to get Helen into her home, and of course the best part of all, the mystery and suspense of figuring out who the killer is!
Will you know who it is before it's over? Only one way to find out!!
If you love authors like Janet Evanovich, you will feel right at home reading A Justified Bitch. This laugh-out-loud murder mystery follows Helen, a fairly crazy hoarder and also a suspect in a murder that she (maybe?) witnessed. Though I wish that some of the characters were better developed (Marc, for example), the overall effect of this book was highly entertaining. A Justified Bitch is the perfect read for anyone who wants a book that will keep you entertained until the end!
will get copies for family and friends.
It's a rare occasion that you come across an author with a style that flows so easily that you can't put the book down. Happily, this was one of those occasions! I found it very hard to put this book down and read well into the night - way past my bedtime! The story gets you in from the start and keeps a hold of you until the end. The characters are likeable, the storyline solid, humorous and interesting and the author keeps you guessing until they deliver a satisfying ending. A great read, highly recommended.
This book has all of the elements I love... mystery, insanity, murder, and clever dialogue. Helen sees things but she is not stupid. Helen's infamous hooker neighbor was dismembered and the detective on the case wants to know if she and her deceased husband Bobby saw anything. I loved Helen and her quirky friends and family. I thought the characters all had a great dynamic and likeability to them. The mystery aspect made the story fun, although it was not a thriller page-turner it had an element of surprise and the characters won me over so efficiently I had an incredibly hard time putting the book down so I read it in 3 sittings.
Book is pretty good but unbelievable. Helen's mental illness and the teenage sons are "too cute". They get into too much to be believable..
A Justified Bitch
Meet Helen Taylor aka the cat lady one day while sitting on the porch one of her many cats delivers a severed finger, it's from Bebe a neighbour once beautiful but has let drugs take over, now she will do anything for her next fix including prostitution phone sex among other things.
When police come to see if she had seen anything and discover the severed finger they have to wonder if Helen is involved in the brutal murder of her neighbour. Helen lost her husband Bobby 10 years earlier in a climbing accident not that she seems to notice Bobby is not real anymore and only in her imagination.
Introducing Bobby to policeman she tells him she cant remember there seems to be something but she just can't figure it out the police decide to take her to jail not sure if she's a suspect or a witness. It's while she's in jail She meets 2 bright and bubbly hairdressers Rasheeda and Hope with their bright clothes they soon rub off on Helen they become firm friends.
Helen and Bobbys lives revolve around the weekend swap meet a couple of friends Pat and Dan help her load her truck and set up her pitch.
Cleo or Pat as she's now known Helen's sister comes from Phoenix with her 2 teenage boys. While Jordon falls in love with his aunt Helen and wants to help at the swap meet Marc keeps his distance.
Pat persuades Helen to go in to a care facility when she escapes there is another murder?
A Justified Bitch is a story of Mental Health illness, love, loyalty and family.
I have never read anything like this book it was truly amazing at times I laughed so much tears were running down my cheeks.
Only problem is how do you follow that H G McKinnis I for one can't wait.
I received an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review.
This is not my normal type of story, but I thoroughly enjoyed Helen and her struggles. This story can highlight how mental illness untreated can totally destroy a person and her family. Helen's struggles for her former self to come forward and make sure that a heinous crime does not go unpunished. By doing this, she also finds a bit of herself and reconnects with her family.
Loved it! Kept me on my toes the entire time. I think it did a pretty decent job at depicting issues like mental illness and hoarding.
Helen Taylor is not your run of the mill Las Vegas resident. She is eccentric and a hoarder and witness to her next door neighbors murder. This is a nice change from everyday mystery. It's funny at times and can be a little sad also. Helen has a dead husband that she talks to and who talks back to her. Her sister and nephews come to try and help her after she is carted off to jail for protective custody. I don't want to get too give to much away.
I liked this book, it has a cast of interesting characters that seem to keep the book flowing. The ending was a little to perfect for me but that being said I just had to suspend reality a little. I look forward to reading more books by this author. I hope it becomes a series. Thank you Net Galley for the book.
Loved it! The characters gave the story so much life. I absolutely loved them all. Sarcasm was sprinkled over everything. I found myself having to stop because I was laughing uncontrollably at times. I think this book was more of a comedy than a mystery. But nonetheless, it delivered. Would recommend for anyone who appreciates what being different is all about.
With the title 'A Justified Bitch' I did not know what to expect! Finishing the first chapter where you get to meet Helen sitting on her porch viewing the world, I thought 'this is going to be a weird one'. And it was delightfully so. I became completely absorb in the mystery of who killed Helen's neighbour. The charachters were so alive and personable - I felt Helen's confusion and sorrow; Pat's frustration and Marc's sadness! This is a truly brillaint murder mystery; well written that will keep you spellbound until the end.
This was a good story with lots of interesting characters. The dialogue writing could be a little silly at times though. I think the writing was good, but the dialogue was at times awkward and kind of unrealistic. I think it distracted from the otherwise good writing in the book. It just didn't sound real.
This was a fantastic read involving mental health, love, acceptance and compassion. Really enjoyed this book on many different levels, and recommend it to those liking mysteries and warm endings.
This book is a wonderful look into the mind of the mentally ill, and the tension it can bring to family members. McKinnis delves into the confusion, fear, and apathy of a schizophrenic without overcomplicating the relationships between patient, family, law, and healthcare. The book has a surprisingly light tone, but does justice to the struggles of its characters.
This book has everything I like about a book ... mystery, insanity, murder, and clever dialogue. Helen sees things but she is not stupid. Helen forgets things but not important things. Helen's infamous hooker neighbor was dismembered and the detective on the case wants to know if she and her deceased husband Bobby saw anything. I loved Helen and her quirky friends and family. I thought the characters all had a great dynamic and likeability to them. The mystery aspect made the story fun, although it was not a thriller page-turner it had an element of surprise and the characters won me over so efficiently I had an incredibly hard time putting the book down. I would gladly read more books by H.G McKinnis
Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read this wonderful book.
This book was entertaining the whole way through! I read it in 3 nights. Keeps you turning the pages, and great ending.
A must read! the mystery was great and I am not a fan for these books!
A great story line based in Las Vegas. Well written. Keeps you guessing right till the end.
Great story. Helen, who is a bit ditzy, actually a whole lot crazy, neighbor is killed in a very violent way. The police who fear she is the only witness want her to get some medical help and to keep her safe. To the rescue comes sister cleo and her two boys and you have to wonder who will be sane by the end of the book. A fun read and very recommendable.
A looking forard to the next by this author book.
A good book with a very interesting title. . I really enjoyed reading this book.
This is a witty funny book. The characters are lovable and you laugh at loud with some of their antics.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Imbrifex books for an ARC of "A Justified Bitch" by H.G. McKinnis for my honest review.
The genres of this book are Mystery and Thriller,Suspense, and General Adult Fiction.
H.G. McKinnis does an excellent job in describing the devastating effects of mental illness on a family.
The story starts when Helen Taylor, finds herself holding a finger and sitting near by her house, where a body has been found murdered next door. Helen lives in a delusional world with her cats and hoarding, and is very comfortable having conversations with her dead husband. When the police question her, she can't explain what she saw. The police take her to jail as a material witness hoping to get information. Helen hasn't showered and her hair is matted. While in jail, she becomes friends with two "jail mates" who own a beauty shop.
The police call Helen's sister Pat(Cleo), and ask her to come and try to get Helen to disclose anything pertinent to the case. Helen has not spoken to Pat for over ten years. Pat arrives with her two teen aged boys. She has the key to Helen's house, and when she opens the door she is horrified to see the hoarding conditions that Helen and her cats have been living in. Helen has a place where she goes and sells some of the things that she hoards.
Pat goes to buy clothes for her sister and get her out of jail. When she arrives at the jail house, a detective convinces Pat to bring her sister to meet with a Psychiatrist. The Psychiatrist convinces Pat that Helen should stay for at least six weeks and be on medication and counselling .
Pat and her two sons are staying at a hotel, and finds that her sons are finding ways to get into trouble. Pat is also trying to get Helen's house in order.
Helen finds a way to go AWOL, to get back to her job. While Helen is away from the health center there is another dead body found.
The author describes dsyfunctional, complex and complicated characters. Some of the teenage adventures are funny. The interactions with Pat and her sons is humorous at times.
Who is the killer? Is Helen involved? This is an intriguing, and enjoyable read with lots of action and adventure. I would recommend this entertaining book.
This is a fascinating murder mystery and is sold with the tag line that is the first in the Las Vegas Mystery series which pleases me no end.
We start off a little awkwardly by viewing the world through the eyes of Helen, named after Helen of Troy. It is so confusing at the start until you understand that the person she is having a conversation with is her dead husband Bobby. Then we are confronted with a pet dropping a gift of love at Helens feet – a severed finger complete with French manicure. Turns out that Bebe, her next door neighbour / prostitute has been brutally murdered and Helen appears to be the only witness. Helens sister Pat (named Cleopatra after another renowned beauty in history) arrives in Las Vegas via Arizona to try and help the police to get Helen to talk. Which proves to be a challenge as Helen is living in a world of her own.
The course of the book takes place over several days. Helen is a filthy recluse and a hoarder and has actual conversations with her husband which tends to throw people for a loop. Pat is the sister who feels that she abandoned her sister when things really started to go badly for her. She couldn’t cope with her sister’s mental breakdown and feels a great deal of guilt for it and wants to do the right thing by her. But the underlying question is, despite her mental instability, is Helen a murderer? There are other players in this story, such as Pat’s two teenage sons who get up to their fair share of mischief in the city of sin and the smart detective who manages to keep all the strings to this mystery in hand as they untangle and it ends with a satisfying crescendo.
I loved the pacing of this book. There were no dead pockets of story that felt like filler. The characters are relatable and sympathetic and personally likable although at the start when Helen is at her sickest she is not so visibly attractive. The story unravels until the end all and the time I was wondering the significance of the title which reveals itself at the very end – and it’s worth waiting for.
A great cosy thriller. It’s a wonderful way to spend a day.
While I enjoyed the book, it is not appropriate for classroom work
When a severed finger turns up on Helen Taylor’s doorstep, the police must try to find out if she saw what happened to her recently deceased (and dismembered) neighbour. But Helen has trouble remembering things, and her dead husband, Bobby, talking over her shoulder isn’t helping. So the police call in her sister, Pat, to see if she can make any sense of what Helen says.
Pat hasn’t seen her sister in years and is shocked at how bad her life has become. Since Bobby’s death ten years before, she has become a hoarder of what she refers to as her ‘inventory’ for her swap-meet stall, and Pat knows she has to stay to help Helen sort herself out.
But as the police delve deeper into the murder, they start to wonder if the reason Helen isn’t saying anything is because, not only did she see what happened, but she was involved.
There’s a few great characters in this book. Helen and Bobby are funny, although I wish we could have found out more about their life before Bobby’s death. But Bobby’s jealousy when he thinks the policeman is flirting with Helen is hilarious.
Jordan, Pat’s son, is nowhere near as likeable. He doesn’t seem to understand that his aunt is mentally unwell and thinks it’s okay for her to wander around Las Vegas after breaking out of a mental institute. It baffles me that he knows she has full-on conversations with her dead husband and doesn’t bat an eyelid. Pat is the only one who sees that Helen needs help, and yet she’s constantly made to feel guilty about it.
The title, A Justified Bitch, was confusing to me as well. I assume it’s referring to Helen, but I’m not sure what she’s supposed to be justified for, and why she’s a bitch, but maybe I missed something in the book.
Despite all of this, I enjoyed the story. Reading it was kind of like watching an episode of CSI. It was fun, inoffensive, with a relatively satisfying ending. If you’re looking for an easy read with a bit of a mystery at its core, then this is the book for you.
Some days can turn into a real nightmare, especially when your neighbor is dismembered more or less under your eyes. Of course, it's difficult to sort things out when you talk with your dead husband, have way too many cats, and a hoarding problem.
Helen Taylor is Det. Jake Madison's closest thing to a witness, but hardly a reliable one. She exists mostly in a dream world. Bebe, the victim, was extraordinary too - a whore past her prime, gardener, whose new profession provided phone sex.
Pat Henderson, Helen's sister, drives up from Phoenix with teenaged sons in tow to care for Helen and help the police. A complicated history and family life already have Pat at DefCon 3; Helen's disappearances and reappearances, almost put her over the edge. An urban cowboy detective, a swap meet business, flashy gay hairdressers, and another horrific murder move the story along.
If you like good characters, an interesting mystery, and the loyalty and conflicts of siblings, you'll enjoy A Justified Bitch. The title is accurate but does not indicate language issues for readers who don't enjoy coarse language. Recommended.
Review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
Holy crap! What an amazing book. Gripping, well written and I could not put it down. Total page turner, edge of your seat tension and I am a new fan of this mad talented author!!!!
Having read only the sample, I must say this book starts off straight away in the first paragraph which gets you hooked..
I shall look to getting the book when it's published....
Helen, an eccentric woman living in squalor in a seedy Las Vegas neighborhood with her many cats, still talks to her dead husband. A former English teacher, she now has a successful stall at a weekly sales market. When one of her
cats brings her a severed finger, the police arrive to find the dismembered body of Helen's prostitute neighbor. She's taken into custody to be questioned, but her mental condition makes her a bad witness. The police call her sister Pat for help and Pat and 2 teenage sons arrive to help Helen, who is then booked into a mental institution. She promptly escapes in order to return to her stall, successfully being run by her youngest nephew. The 2 have become close and unlikely partners in the business.
When Helen's psychiatrist is found murdered, she becomes the main suspect for both murders.
This was a fun book, a little uneven, but enjoyable with some good laughs. It promises to be the start of a new exciting series, reminiscent of Janet Ivanovich's books.
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the eARC.
When her neighbour, Bebe, is murdered Helen finds herself and her eccentric lifestyle under scrutiny. can hear and see Bobby her deceased husband, refuses to bathe and groom herself and lives with a number of cats in squalor. After being taken into custody by the police her sister, Pat turns up and although they have been estranged for years feels a sense of responsibility and guilt for not being around. With help from the detective on the case can Bebe's killer be caught before becomes a target?
Easy to read and get into I found this crime thriller interesting as it gave an account of what it's like to be a native of Las Vegas. Helen's eccentricities were a quirky hook in this story and the complexities in her family add another dimension to the thriller. This is quite an even paced read and the characters really grew on me.
The supernatural question of whether Bobby is really seen by Helen makes me want to read more in this series.
<b><i>Realistic!</i></b> That is the best description I can provide for this short, easy to read crime novel set in present-day Las Vegas. I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. It was written (skillfully) by H.G. McKinnis, and published by Flattop Productions, Inc. of Las Vegas in 2017.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is very realistic. The dialogue is believable, and the descriptions of the Las Vegas environment is accurate and colorful. Written in the 3rd person, the book presents the perspectives of the protagonist (Helen), her sister (Cleo, or Pat) and Detective Madison of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department (LVMPD). Even though the author supplies a few hints during the story as to the identity of the killer, we can never be sure, so the element of suspense is present until the end of the book.
Helen is a hoarder. She lives on the East Side of Las Vegas, just off Charleston Blvd. Her sister Cleo (or Pat — short for Cleopatra) lives in Phoenix with her husband and two sons. Helen makes her living buying and selling used merchandise at a swap meet in Las Vegas. She owns her own home, but she became mentally unstable after her husband died in a climbing accident ten years earlier. She still sees her husband, and talks to him every day, even though he is dead. Now, her house is full of trash, cats, insects and other critters, and is not fit to be lived in. Unfortunately, Helen might have witnessed the murder of her next-door neighbor — a meth-addicted prostitute and telephone sex worker. The murder scene is gruesome, and one of Helen’s cats brings home a body part that police subsequently find in her yard, implicating Helen in the murder. She is jailed as a material witness, and she meets some interesting people, and makes some new friends, while in jail.
Helen’ sister and two sons, Jordan and Marc, drive up from Phoenix to bail Helen out of jail and try to help her straighten her life out. That’s when the adventures really begin in earnest. But the murders aren’t over, yet. Another woman is murdered, and Helen does not have an alibi. Police immediately suspect Helen. The conclusion to the story is satisfying. Loose ends are tied up. The story is an easy, fast read. What’s not to like? For a change of pace in murder and crime novels, try this well-written work by H.G. McKinnis. You’ll be glad you did.
**spoiler alert** I appreciate the opportunity to read and review a preview copy of this book, courtesy of NetGalley. I enjoyed reading about Helen Andover family and trying to understand how she fit into the mystery of Bebe's murder.
It was sad to read about the estrangement of her sister, Pat & family. Mental illness plagues Helen, and it doesn't help that she lost her husband, Bobby, in a tragic accident. The story tragedies chronicled the tied that bind family, and the complexity of mental illness.
Critical notes: the murder of Dr. Urban was not explained at all. Lots of red herrings, but the real killer was almost instantly obvious. One major issue I hard was with the editing. Like the character Tiny - halfway through the book, he's referred to as Tiny Jackson, but on the very next page, Tiny Davis. That's just sloppy and distracting. Overall, I enjoyed this book. It just needs another critical eye.
This is an outstanding story on many levels. It includes a murder mystery, a family reconciled,emergence from grief, and coming of age.. The style of writing helps the story along with just the right level of description for the action being portrayed. Helen is a woman developed in so much depth she is like an old friend or as described "a wacky aunt." The boys are true adolescents, with a developing relationship with their mother. So many wonderful vignettes provide smiles or frowns, but everything truly connects with the reader. This book is worth several reads.
Not sure where the idea for the title name comes from, but it grabbed my attention and after that it was smiles and mysreries...and insane reveling all the way. There's a delightful fondness to the characters and their relationships with each other, even if some seem more detrimental to the protagonist's mental health than others.
I agree with some reviewers not to judge this book by it's cover, title, or even its first chapter. At first I was like "what is going on with this Helen girl" and was somewhat rolling my eyes. Then I started reading more and got hooked when her sister, Pat/Cleo, was introduced.
This book was a very interesting and fast read for me. VERY unexpected, but I really enjoyed it. I read this on a Saturday/Sunday and just flew through the book 100 pages at a time.
This story revolves around both a detective mystery and a mental institution. It was a nice change of pace when the story split between different settings and themes (though all very intertwined and not random). I was hooked and wanted to learn more about what happened, what would come of Helen, and how the entire plot would play out.
The character development is well done. I felt really tied to most of the main and secondary characters. McKinnis did a great job making you feel connected to them - I felt like I knew them and what they were about.
Very entertaining read - highly recommend! I can't wait to see what the next books in the Las Vegas Mystery series are about!
*Thank you to Netgalley, Imbrifex Books, and Smith Publicity for the ARC, for which I have given an honest and unbiased review*
"I remember things, but sometimes I don't remember what I remember."
Helen...Helen...Helen...I love Helen....her discussions with her long-dead husband....her love of swap meets....and her love of cats!
Have you ever had one of your furry friends bring you a creepy gift? I sure have, (some still alive) and the one that Helen receives from Wary the cat wreaks havoc and brings out the police in full force....but Helen can't remember where the little piece of incriminating evidence came from.....so it's off to jail where colorful new friends are made and a murder mystery ensues.
A JUSTIFIED BITCH (ignore the cover) equals Great Fun in Las Vegas with a reunited family and a murderer too close for comfort!
Thank you to Goodread's friend Zoey....so glad I caught your review!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Imbrifex Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is that true case for not judging a book by it's cover. That cover and the title totally suck for this cute little book. It's good. It deserves better. My thanks to my buddy Zoeytron's review for cluing me in on this one.
You meet Helen, she is the neighborhood crazy cat lady.
Helen hoards junk for the swap meets and talks to her dead husband Bobby.
Helen is good people.
Then her phone sexing neighbor gets cut into a million pieces. The police know that Helen may know something about it but good luck getting it out of her. Helen isn't sure of taking a bath..why should she remember a killing?
Helen's sister Pat is called to come to see if she can help out with Helen and she heads to Vegas with her two sons to try and figure out her wacked sister. Poor Pat, between two teenagers in Vegas and her sister escaping the looney bin...she isn't having a good day.
Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review
First of all, a big thanks to Imbrifex and Smith Publicity for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. Also, for the blog spot to kick off the tour!
A JUSTIFIED BITCH by H.G. McKinnis definitely grabbed my attention for two reasons: the title (how can you ignore that?) and the tagline - it takes a guilty bastard to make a justified bitch. Consider me instantly intrigued. I will say, this is a classic example of "don't judge a book by it's cover". It does not do the book justice.
It all starts with a severed finger is found just a few feet away from the doorstep to Helen Taylor. Most people would panic, not Helen. How come? Well, Helen is already considered crazy - from her hoarder lifestlye, her growing number of cats, and her conversations with her husband. Only thing is that her husband, Bobby, has been dead for years. We find out that the finger is connected to the gruesome murder of her neighbor, Bebe.
The police bring Helen in for questioning because they believe she could be a witness to the crime, or a possible suspect. While in custody, the detective calls up her sister, Pat, who currently lives down in Phoenix. She comes to her sister's aid with her two teenage sons. Upon her arrival to the police station, detectives convince her to have Helen brought into a mental facility to be evaluated. After seeing the conditions her sister was living in, she felt she had no choice and that its what was best for her.
Helen goes AWOL from the facility, and shortly after she escapes another gruesome murder occurs. Will the detectives, Pat, and her sons be able to solve the case and find Helen? In order to do so, they need to find the truth in the insanity.
This book definitely surprised me! I wasn't expecting such a gripping mystery (based on the title). I was anticipating more of a journey of revenge (again, based on the title). The characters were so well-developed and diving into the mind of Helen was quite the ride! The hoarding, the cats, and her dealing with the grief of her husband's death 10 years prior. I was drawn in from the start and McKinnis didn't let go until the very end - I'm excited and hoping for a book two in the Las Vegas Mysteries series!
If you want a great murder mystery with a character that makes you feel almost as insane as she is, then this is the one for you!
I give this one 4.5/5 stars!
I will say the title and cover of this book are what first attracted my attention, but what is on the inside was just as excellent. This is a great mystery novel and the title and cover shouldn't dissuade you from reading it! Excellent author and I loved the story!
A Justified Bitch is a light-hearted murder mystery, family relationship drama, and is easy-to-read and quite goofy. It is actually a bit outside the type of book that I normally read and feels like it is more on the "chick-lit" side than the gritty side of the mystery world. Nevertheless, the author knows how to spin a fairly good yarn and much of it makes for a compelling read. I think that the novel is at its best when it gives Helen's point of view. Helen is a hoarder extraordinaire who has a running dialogue with her dead husband, Bobby, as if he were sitting on her shoulder. The confusion and distraction and misunderstandings that flow from Helen's mental difficulties make this story. The murder and family drama are a bit secondary.
A severed finger shows up on her doorstep in a seedy section of Las Vegas. But Helen Taylor does not freak out, she is already one crazy lady. Helen is a hoarder, her house is full of cats and she has conversations with her long-dead husband, Bobby. Helen is now a suspect in her neighbours murder and ends up spending a night in jail.
I really liked the character, Helen, and her discussions with her long-dead husband, Bobby, and the fact that Bobby answered her back. Helen has a booth at her local swap meet and compares everything she sees with the retail price and the price she would sell them for. I thought this was going to be annoying at first as it was mentioned quite a lot, but thankfully it didn't. This is a story that covers Mental Health illness, love and family loyalty. Do not judge this book by its cover. As it does not do the book any favours!
I would like to thank NetGalley, Inbrifex Books and the author H. G. McKinnis for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Helen is a bit of an eccentric hoarder. Her husband died in an unfortunate accident a decade ago and her hoarding never got any better, but he's still there for her as she still sees him and their banter is fantastic. Imagine a woman with twenty cats that she can't properly take care of causing infestations of bugs and an abundance of cat feces and urine. A severed finger is found near her home but she's not bothered. Nothing really gets to Helen these days. However, she becomes a suspect and has to spend a night in jail. Then another murder occurs and she has a tie to this person as well - with no alibi. Her family comes up to try and help her but how do you properly help someone who lives in her own little world?
OK - first of all, I love the title of this book but it doesn't quite fit with the story line. I assumed it would be more of a tag line for a story of vengeance. Don't judge this book by the cover or title. Cleverly written, we get a look into the perspective of a person with hoarding issues. Have you ever seen the show, Hoarders? I have and am always fascinated by these people's stories. People are so quick to judge, but these are real issues stemming from something and they can get help. But back to the book - this was an easy page turner. Refreshing and different from most mysteries I've read lately with a lot of humor. Absolutely take a chance on this book and I look forward to the next book in the series.
What a strange book, I wasn't sure what to make of it.I do like writers who think outside the box and this one most certainly did .This was pretty wacky. I did struggle to connect with Helen and I felt disappointed that I didn't really like her as a character,I think it would have made quite a difference if I had liked her more.I think she was well written maybe for me it wasn't as cozy as I expected from the description, and in a way this is not a bad thing.I don't want to give a bad review because I personally didn't like the main character because that is not always necessary and I think it is a brave author who makes a difficult character central to their story.I did enjoy the fact that this book was pretty different and original and I admired that.I would be interested to read more by this author and I do think they write stories that are entertaining .
Do NOT judge this book by it's cover or title! It definitely is a murder mystery book and I'm not quite sure why this title and cover were chosen. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery book. If you like a realistic murder mystery then this is the book for you. Without giving to much away Las Vegas was described well along with the characters.
This book was such an unexpected delight! The dialog was so clever and the characters so engaging and likable. I appreciate the depiction of hoarding and mental illness. It was serious, yet humorous. If you want a book that's fairly light yet keeps you on your toes, read this book. Highly recommended and I look forward to reading more from this author.
When I first read the book description of ‘A Justified Bitch’, I was immediately curious about this read. I love mysteries and the fact that this book had a confused main character just spoke to me. So I was super happy when I received the email that I could read and review this book.
First of all, I love this cover. I’ve read that most people don’t seem to like this cover, but I seriously love it! I love how the orange grabs your attention, and it just makes me want to start reading. I think it’s a very strong cover, and it was definitely the first thing that made me want to read this book. It’s different, and not like any other cover I’ve seen lately. Definitely a strong starting point for me.
Overall I enjoyed reading ‘A Justified Bitch’. From the moment I started reading, I knew there was something more to this book. The main character Helen Taylor, finds a finger in her back yard right before the police arrives at her neighbors home. Helen’s neighbor is brutally murdered, and it appears Helen might be the only one who has seen something. But the thing is, Helen is talking with her husband.. her dead husband! And Helen doesn’t seem able to give a ‘normal’ answer.
That is the moment Helen’s sister Pat receives a phone call from the police asking for her help. But Pat hasn’t spoken to Helen for years, and she is shocked to find out how Helen’s life has turned out.
I loved how mental illness played a huge part in this book. As a nurse, I enjoy reading books where people aren’t all ‘normal’. Especially since there are so many people with mental illnesses out there. In real life, I do get in contact with people with mental illnesses and I enjoyed reading how Helen coped with her illness.
The down part about this book for me, was that I really expected more of a mystery novel than ‘A Justified Bitch’ really was. I felt like this book was much more about the mental illness part, and the way people react to it then it was a mystery. It wasn’t necessary a bad thing, but I just expected something different. I also felt like this book was a little slow at moments.
I really loved this book! A great storyline and fast past read!
This book had me hooked from page one, I read it straight through. A fast paced realistic murder mystery that gives a unique perspective on mental disorders. When a severed finger arrives on her doorstep Helen is thrown into the middle of a murder investigation and suddenly her whole life is being examined. She spends her days with her ever growing population of cats, talking to her dead husband, and hoarding things. The detective in charge of the case is convinced Helen knows something, but Helen can't remember what she saw...
I give this book 5 out of 5 Cuckoo Stars! I just LOVED this book! This was definitely an unconventional type of read. This story was just fun and made me feel better about my insanity. That’s right here goes the part where Dani brings her crazy filled life into the story! I have battled a very severe and rare mental illness since the age of 7 that has been an ongoing struggle since then. I am thankfully on a stable dose of medication and am able to function properly as possible but that was not always the case. My illness mostly manifested because of continuous severe traumas I faced for three years as a young child. Like the main character, I lost touch of reality and used different methods to escape and deal with my pain and suffering. These unhealthy “coping” skills continued into adulthood and will stay with me lifelong. I was given every medication regimen in the book and damaged my liver by young adulthood by medicines doctors have given me. I was put through crazy clinical trials because of having this rare mental illness. I was strapped down to beds for up to 14 hours at a time. I have a messed up disc in my back from caretakers taking me down to “protect” me. I have received electric shock therapy. I grew up in the system, group homes, residential treatment facilities and mental hospitals. By the age of 18, I have been placed in a faciliy of some sort 50 something times. My point to explaining all of this is that I could relate to everything the main character was going through. I knew what it was like to lose touch of reality because the present was too painful to face and the author did a great job of describing the symtoms of how everything feels and works. This book was well written and the descriptions were amazing. Most of the time a book like this may be a trigger for me but not with how the author portrayed Helen. Helen was crazy and it made you laugh. She also was loveable and you could understand why she was the way she was even though she is a suspect. All the other characters were fantastic as well! I loved Jordan and Helen’s two friends that work at the Salon! The way the facility and the medication adjustments were described were a great portrayal of the battle people with psychosis face. Helen’s stay and escape from the treatment facility was realistic. Many might be like “this shit doesn’t happen”, they must have never been institutionalized with a severe mental illness. This book made me laugh and also was very suspenseful. At one moment your laughing at Helen, the next you are having the hairs on the back of your neck stick up because of the intensity of this case. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for us next!😄 I highly recommend this book and it is definitely Dani-approved! I hope I was able to explain my review well and hope everyone has a fantastic day!!! Much love to you all!❤🤗😘💖
A page-turner from start to finish... Highly recommended.
This story has so many realistic factors to it, you may wonder if it is actually fiction. There is a finger found on the property of a hoarding cat lady. When asked about the finger by the police, Helen, really doesn't seem to make much sense. Alice is constantly talking to Bobby, her dead husband. The police place Helen in a mental facility and call her sister from Phoenix. Pat arrives with her two boys, and try to help the police understand Helen. But Pat and Helen really are not close, so Pat isn't really sure what Helen is talking about. Then Helen leaves the hospital, and another murder is committed. Is Helen a murderer? Can Pat and the police figure out exactly what Helen was talking about and sort out the truth from her imagination? This story is very well written and shows us how people with mental illness think and are looked at by others. It also shows how family members react to members with this problem. A job well done. I received a copy of this book from Net Galley. The review is voluntarily done and of my own opinion.
Very entertaining fun read - highly recommend! I can't wait to see what the next books in the Las Vegas Mystery series are about!
The book starts out with the gruesome murder of a Las Vegas former call girl who lived next door to Helen, a middle aged woman suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness that stemmed from the loss of her husband Bobby.
When a severed finger arrives on her doorstep Helen is thrown into the middle of a murder investigation and suddenly her whole life is being examined.
She spends her days with her ever growing population of cats, talking to her dead husband, and hoarding things. The detective in charge of the case is convinced Helen knows something, but Helen can't remember what she saw!
The police fear she is the only witness so she is taken into custody so they can get her to get some medical help and to keep her safe whilst they try to figure out who butchered her neighbour.
After the detective and psychiatric doctor evaluate her, her sister, Pat Henderson, drives up from Phoenix with teenaged sons in tow to care for Helen and help the police.
Pat hasn’t seen her sister in years and is shocked at how bad her life has become since Bobby’s death ten years ago, the conditions Helen has been living in and she feels like she owes it to her sister to stay and help take care of her.
As the police delve deeper into the murder, they start to wonder if the reason Helen isn’t saying anything is because, not only did she see what happened, but she was involved so the underlying question is, despite her mental instability, is Helen a murderer?
The story revolves around both a detective mystery and a mental institution which gives it a nice change of pace having the story split between different settings and themes.
The look into mental illness shows not just what Helen is going through, but how it affects her family, friends, the medical profession and the community. I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative of their family relationships, estranged and renewed, as well as Helen's own narrative through mental illness.
This was a fun easy read with a bit of a mystery at its core, better than i expected which is always a win for books that exceed expectations.
The crime novel, A Justified Bitch from H.G. McKinnis is set in Las Vegas. It’s not a cozy, and it’s not dark and gory. Instead, it’s a look at mental illness and how two very different sisters are swept up into a murder case.
a Justified Bitch
Helen Taylor, a widow, who makes a marginal living at a local swap meet, lives in a quiet Las Vegas neighbourhood. Helen has mental health issues which started after the climbing accident that killed her husband, Bobby. Now Helen lives alone in squalid conditions, and she shares her hoarder home with innumerable cats. Helen still ‘talks’ to Bobby, and in spite of her unkempt, dirty appearance, Helen manages, barely, to function. Helen’s life comes crashing to a halt when her prostitute neighbour, Bebe, is murdered right next door.
The police think that Helen holds the clue to the identity of the murderer, but can’t get a sensible word out of her.
She wished she could remember what happened, but as usual, when she absolutely needed to recall something, it hid away inside the cracks and fissures of her brain.
Helen’s functioning sister, Pat, arrives from Arizona to help Helen, and what was supposed to be a short few days stay, turns into something else. Pat is horrified by Helen’s condition and so with the help of her teenage son, Jordan and Helen’s son Marc (who has lived with his Aunt Pat for years), they clean out Helen’s house while Helen stays at a mental health facility. But when Helen goes AWOL, another body turns up….
I liked the Vegas setting, and the ambiance of Helen’s neighbourhood where the dress code was “worn and tatty.”
The Las Vegas heat shimmered off the patched asphalt, giving an opaque and eerie quality to the air. Sitting on her porch, Helen stared into the afternoon sky, rocking and humming quietly. The corner lot gave her an exceptional view of the neighborhood. Through the wire-enclosed backyards, she had an unobstructed view of the cluttered expanse all the way to the next corner. In the opposite direction, long-abandoned treasures lay baking in the sun: old cars. worn-out furniture, and less-well-defined objects–maybe toys, maybe tools–all of them showing signs of exposure to the harsh desert environment.
Across the street, beyond a car tagged with an orange tow-away sticker, she tried to decipher the hieroglyphics of the new graffiti spray-painted across the front of the Sanchez house. No message there.
While I was initially annoyed by the whole Helen-talking-to-her-dead-husband thing, I warmed to Pat and the dilemma she faced when she came to Vegas. Helen was not going to be an easy, quick fix, and the author nailed Pat’s situation, and the difficult choices she had to make. Yes, it’s a murder mystery, but it’s clouded and complicated by mental illness. The title seems a misnomer, but it is attention grabbing.
I thought this was a really good adult murder mystery and it was handled very well. I really liked the whole drama on top of drama role this book took on because not only are we focusing on finding this killer but we are also dealing with all of the family craziness going on. With that being said that really took this murder mystery and turned it into so much more for me. There was always something grabbing for my attention so I didn't really have the opportunity to get bored.
Character wise I think H. G. McKinnis did a great job of giving her characters roles and keeping them playing their OWN roles. Unfortunately, I didn't really feel connected with the characters, even though I knew all about them, something was still missing that made me lack sympathy for them.
On the predictability scale I don't think it was easy to guess who the killer was but when you find out who it actually is you're left kicking yourself because you feel like you should have known all along. Because I honestly thought I knew who the killer was but the joke was on me.
I absolutely loved the gruesome descriptions of the two murder scenes! It was something that really made me wince and cringe even though I wasn't literally seeing anything. Reading this was honestly like watching criminal minds and it was greatly appreciated.
I think this book is great for those YA addicts looking to test the waters in the adult genre, especially those in love with mystery novels. I'm not quite sure how the rest of the series is supposed to work out but I'm excited and I'm definitely looking forward to it.
Helen Taylor, finds herself holding a finger and sitting near by her house, where a body has been found murdered next door. Helen lives with her cats, and is a bit of a hoarder, but she is very comfortable having conversations with her dead husband (which is intriguing . When she cannot offer the police an explanation for what happened, they take her to jail as a material witness.
The police call Helen's sister Pat, and try to convince her to get Helen to spill, but she has not spoke to her sister for over ten years. Pat discovers the hoarding and is terrified for her sister. And with convincing from the cops, Pat convinces Helen to speak to a psychiatrist. Psychiatrist convinces Pat that Helen should stay for at least six weeks and be on medication and counselling .
Helen finds a way to go AWOL, to get back to her job. While Helen is away from the health center there is another dead body found.
The author describes dysfunctional, complex and complicated characters.
Who is the killer? Is Helen involved? This is an intriguing, and enjoyable read with lots of action and adventure. I would recommend this entertaining book.
I did not know what to expect from this book. It was different. Take one cat lady who talks to her dead husband, a hoarder and assorted other characters and a severed finger. What do you get? A book that is well written, interesting, and gives insight on mental illness. A very engrossing read. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book as well as the paperback copy (from the publisher) in return for my honest review. I look forward to reading more from this author
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