Fifth in the Maggie Kelly mystery series featuring a NYT bestselling author and her perfect historical fictional hero...who just happens to have come to life and is now living the good life in Manhattan.
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Kasey Michaels’ addition to her Maggie Kelly mystery series, High Heels and Holidays, is a dash of sensual Christmas cheer, spoiled only by dead rats and death threats. When fellow authors of the Toland Publishing House in Manhattan start to turn up murdered, Maggie and her friends attempt to uncover the fiend. Can they blame disgruntled fans? Or one of their own?

Mystery writer Maggie Kelly admittedly lives in her own world, complete with two Persian cats, “something she figured writers should have.” When reality and fantasy collide, Maggie finds herself heart to heart with her own creation, historic romance hero Alex Blake, Viscount St. Just, who sounds and acts like a modern-day Sherlock Holmes and Remington Steele combined. Maggie admits that Alex has “ruined me for other men.” Not only does Alex poof into her life, he brings along the charmingly naïve Sterling, who declares, “It’s so nice that we can do anything she wrote we can do, although I still wish she’d deigned to gift me with more hair and less belly.”

Mixing spirited Maggie, who has all the personality and verbiage of a not-very-wilting heroine finds Alex’s purpose in life, to rescue her, vexing. To make matters worse, her creation begins to evolve outside of her characterization. Will the two of them let their romance get in the way of a murder investigation?

 The amateur group of sleuths, which include Maggie and her hero, who is passed off as a distant British cousin, Maggie’s publisher, fellow author Bruce, wanna-be author JP and Maggie’s former boyfriend-- an NYC policeman-- get together to go through hate mail received by the publisher, they piece together a common foe. Later, Maggie and Alex realize they’ve been targeting the wrong person. When Maggie unmasks the real killer and tries to protect Alex, Sterling unwittingly saves the day.

During the murder investigation, Alex has time to right a wrongful charity outfit with the help of his new friend, a mob boss. As the once-written arrogant and self-confident Regency-era hero grows beyond Maggie’s perimeters, he realizes that becoming mortal is not easy. Can he keep Maggie safe?

Michaels allows the reader to catch up to speed through a prologue and epilogue. High Heels is a nicely-paced fun read with delightfully clichéd characters.

Lisa J Lickel