Murder, cannibalism, kidnapping and breach of copyright hit the sleepy state of Tasmania. To make ends meet, law student Jennifer Shot rents rooms to Nathan, Rod and Cindy, two oversexed fellow law students, and a police officer with personal issues. Things start going wrong when Jennifer takes a job as a private detective searching for a missing senator's daughter and stumbles onto an elaborate mob retirement plan.
One glance at the blurb for this book will give you a pretty good feel for the style. Yep, another comedic female private detective crashing through life in a manner that can make a reader cry with laughter, or stick their hands up in the air begging for a good old fashioned police procedural with a central female character with a serious drinking problem, an attitude and maybe a bad case of BO. Anything from the other end of the expectation spectrum anyway.
The difficulty with this sort of humorous crime fiction scenario is that humour is a profoundly subjective thing - more so than just about any other styling I can think of. It helps, of course, if the humour is combined with a good plot and a lot more to the central character than just that "lovable idiot" thing.
THE FIRST SHOT does show some glimpses of promise (and there are now further books in the series). Jennifer feels like she might not just be the same girl doing the same things, over and over and over again and there is a bit of a plot buried in the book, although it does stretch believability to breaking point at times. The humour is pretty heavy-handed and whilst it does toe the stereotypical line for these sort of girly, madcap rompy sorts of books, there were some parts that worked. Especially those aspects that had a personal touch to them, and were part of the set up of the character Jennifer for readers to get to know.
I understand why it is that people are writing these sorts of books, but goodness knows there are an awful lot of them around. Hopefully at some stage something sticks it's head above the crowd, particularly something that's quintessentially Australian, without being cloying or too cute about it all. THE FIRST SHOT is not exactly climbing to the top of that pile, but, it is a reasonable attempt, and could garner a readership who like their crime on the softer, sillier, funny side.