Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries by Diane Kelly is the 11th book in the Tara Holloway series (available February 7, 2017).
Tara Holloway is a Special Agent of the Internal Revenue Service, and although she can do all that accounting stuff we think of as an IRS agent’s forte, she is especially good at the “tough girl takes down the bad guy” part of the job.
But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. I am even getting ahead of Tara. When Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries—the 11th book in Diane Kelly’s yowling great Tara Holloway series—first opens, Tara and her brand-spanking-new fiancé are having dinner together and kibitzing about whether sweet potato fries should be served at their wedding. And that is when the enormity of their engagement hits Tara. I’ll let her tell you:
Twenty-four hours earlier Nick Pratt had merely been my boyfriend. But when he’d popped the question last night, my answer had been a resounding Yes! Nick was not the type of guy a woman said no to. And now, here we were.
Or, as we say in Texas, fixin’ to tie the knot.
By the next morning, Special Agent Tara is focused decidedly on work. As she gets dressed in her navy-blue pantsuit, I am majorly impressed by her red Doc Martens. Did you know that some of those shoes have steel tips, which, according to Tara, could serve as “an improvised weapon”? Me neither, but hey, if I didn’t hang out with the woman her colleagues teasingly call Annie Oakley, how would I learn?
Once in the office, Tara’s boss—Luella Lobozinski, mostly called Lu—brings Tara in to meet Agent Robert Castaneda of the Border Patrol. He’s come to discuss a joint operation to round up a group of people smugglers, often called coyotes. He’s had an eye on a particularly ruthless coyote leader, a man with dual Mexican and American citizenship, Salvador Hidalgo. Agent Castaneda hands Tara all the information he has on Hidalgo. While she reads it, here are her thoughts:
This one was a single page containing Salvador Hidalgo’s mugshot and identifying information. The guy had wiry black hair and dark, cavernous eyes. He wore a smug grin that sent a clear message. F-ck you and the free-range donkey you rode in on. A pretty bold message for an hombre who stood only five feet five inches tall, weighed a mere 135 pounds, and had the alias Sally. Then again, I was only five feet two and could pack quite a wallop when necessary.
This seems like a clear-cut case of the IRS helping snag the illegal coyote operation by tracking funds. But the investigation becomes more complex when three young sisters who are being transported suddenly go off the grid. And to complicate Tara’s personal life, her former beau Brett Ellington is the owner of one of the landscaping companies Tara and Castaneda are investigating for hiring undocumented workers. Of course, that puts Nick in a bit of a snit.
There is an awful lot of territory to cover and major twists and turns in the story before everything is resolved, but each and every page is packed with energy and excitement. It is grand fun to follow along as Tara fights crime in ways you would never suspect an IRS agent to do! This is a fabulous storyline about interagency relationships and the impact of coyotes on everyone involved. Lives are saved, love triumphs all! A fabulous, fabulous read.
My biggest shock came on the very last page, which said that the series will conclude “with a bang” in the book Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding, to be released in October 2017. Sometime between now and then, there may be a special Tara Holloway e-novella published, Death, Taxes, and Pecan Pie, but I couldn’t find a release date.
Believe you me, I will have my eye out because I don’t want to miss a word about Tara, Lu, Nick and the rest of the Special Agents and there special assignments. I am going to miss them all terribly in 2018.
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Agatha Award-winner Terrie Farley Moran is the author of the bestselling cozy Read ’Em and Eat mysteries, filled with testy book club members, tempting food, and the occasional murder. Most recent in the series, Read to Death, was released last summer. Find out more by visiting www.terriefarleymoran.com