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Los Angeles greeting-card artist Wollie Shelley is dating forty men in sixty days as research for a radio talk show host’s upcoming book, How to Avoid Getting Dumped All the Time. Wollie is meeting plenty of eligible bachelors but not falling in love, not until she stumbles over a dead body en route to Rio Pescado—a state-run mental hospital—and is momentarily taken hostag Los Angeles greeting-card artist Wollie Shelley is dating forty men in sixty days as research for a radio talk show host’s upcoming book, How to Avoid Getting Dumped All the Time. Wollie is meeting plenty of eligible bachelors but not falling in love, not until she stumbles over a dead body en route to Rio Pescado—a state-run mental hospital—and is momentarily taken hostage by a charismatic “doctor” who is on the run from the Mob. Wollie fears that her beloved brother, a paranoid schizophrenic living at Rio Pescado, is involved in the murder, so rather than go to the authorities, she decides to solve the crime on her own. As she meets up with an array of small-time crooks and swaggering mobsters only slightly more sinister than the men she’s been dating, Wollie realizes that “getting dumped” is the least of her problems. Finding true love, she discovers, sometimes means learning how to avoid getting killed . . . Dating Dead Men will keep readers guessing until the final bullet is shot—and cheering for the irresistible Wollie as she makes her way out of confusion and into the welcoming embrace of Mr. Right.


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Los Angeles greeting-card artist Wollie Shelley is dating forty men in sixty days as research for a radio talk show host’s upcoming book, How to Avoid Getting Dumped All the Time. Wollie is meeting plenty of eligible bachelors but not falling in love, not until she stumbles over a dead body en route to Rio Pescado—a state-run mental hospital—and is momentarily taken hostag Los Angeles greeting-card artist Wollie Shelley is dating forty men in sixty days as research for a radio talk show host’s upcoming book, How to Avoid Getting Dumped All the Time. Wollie is meeting plenty of eligible bachelors but not falling in love, not until she stumbles over a dead body en route to Rio Pescado—a state-run mental hospital—and is momentarily taken hostage by a charismatic “doctor” who is on the run from the Mob. Wollie fears that her beloved brother, a paranoid schizophrenic living at Rio Pescado, is involved in the murder, so rather than go to the authorities, she decides to solve the crime on her own. As she meets up with an array of small-time crooks and swaggering mobsters only slightly more sinister than the men she’s been dating, Wollie realizes that “getting dumped” is the least of her problems. Finding true love, she discovers, sometimes means learning how to avoid getting killed . . . Dating Dead Men will keep readers guessing until the final bullet is shot—and cheering for the irresistible Wollie as she makes her way out of confusion and into the welcoming embrace of Mr. Right.

30 review for Dating Dead Men

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shauna Hruby

    Many years ago, I used to browse the library stacks to find things to read. Once in a while I'd get lucky and come across something that I really liked. This book was one I found in that way. I remember really enjoying it--finding it terribly quirky and funny--part mystery--part romance. Lately, I've found the desire to revisit some of my past favorites to see if they still hold up to my memories. This one did. I enjoyed it just as much this time around. Call it chick-lit if you will, but I thin Many years ago, I used to browse the library stacks to find things to read. Once in a while I'd get lucky and come across something that I really liked. This book was one I found in that way. I remember really enjoying it--finding it terribly quirky and funny--part mystery--part romance. Lately, I've found the desire to revisit some of my past favorites to see if they still hold up to my memories. This one did. I enjoyed it just as much this time around. Call it chick-lit if you will, but I think it's just a fun read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This was the first book I'd ever picked up by Harley Jane Kozak and I will definitely not be picking up any more! The main character in Dating Dead Men, Wollie, is completely unrelatable. Her actions and thoughts do not even remotely resemble what a rational person would do or think. Here's a rundown of what she does in the first few chapters of the book (view spoiler)[She drives, at midnight, to the psychiatric hospital where her paranoid schizophrenic brother is kept so that she can literally t This was the first book I'd ever picked up by Harley Jane Kozak and I will definitely not be picking up any more! The main character in Dating Dead Men, Wollie, is completely unrelatable. Her actions and thoughts do not even remotely resemble what a rational person would do or think. Here's a rundown of what she does in the first few chapters of the book (view spoiler)[She drives, at midnight, to the psychiatric hospital where her paranoid schizophrenic brother is kept so that she can literally take him aluminum foil for his next tin foil hat. Why does she have to do it at midnight and not just wait for visiting hours you ask? Well because that would make sense. On her way there, driving on a lonely mountain road naturally, she finds a body. The reader is treated to a very long inner monologue of her freaking out about what to do. She worries that he might not be dead and if she doesn't get out to help he'll die and she'll be liable. And if she drives away, will that be leaving the scene of a crime?!?! She also doesn't have a cell phone in the 21st century so she can't call for help. When she finally does poke him and determine that he's dead there is more angsting about whether or not she's left a fingerprint on him. She has to drive on to the hospital to get help.....but once she gets there she totally forgets about the body. There aren't any guards at the front desk so instead of screaming for help until someone comes or just grabbing the nearest phone and dialing 911 she decides the better idea is to break into the locked ward of the hospital after hours so she can drop off the foil in her brother's room. After she does that she heads back to the elevator and sees a guy dressed in surgical scrubs. She knows he doesn't belong there because he's not wearing shoes under his paper shoe covers and they don't do surgery at this hospital anyway, especially not at midnight. But she doesn't think he can be a bad guy because....he's got dimples and a rockin body! Instead of being afraid of this person, she gets in the elevator with him. Then 2 guards get on the elevator (and in a shocking lack of professionalism don't question why either one of these people is in the restricted section of the hospital after midnight) and the cute stranger is clearly anxious around the guards and starts squeezing Wollie's hand as if trying to communicate a message to her. Again, instead of being alarmed, all she can think about is how his touch makes her heart go pitter-pat. Then 30 seconds later when he grabs her around the waist and tells the guards to back off or he'll shoot her, all she thinks is "Wow! He's so strong!" In the car they pass the dead guy again and she learns her captor has spent time in prison, and the body has to do with him and the trouble he's in, but she doesn't feel threatened by him because he's got such nice white teeth and is kind to the strange and mysterious white creature he carries around in his pocket, which he had to tell this 35-year-old American woman was a ferret because their existence had apparently completely slipped her by up to that point. She jabbers away making embarrassing small talk and quirky comments when she ought to be fearing for her life and asking to be let go. Then they stop at a doughnut shop giving her a perfect opportunity to escape or call for help, but it doesn't even occur to her to do so because she's so enamored with this handsome kidnapper. In fact, she actually helps him by distracting a dry cleaning employee, in the MOST embarrassing way possible, so that her kidnapper can steal some new clothes. This is a woman who only an hour ago was worried about driving away from a body long enough to get help, now she's willingly aiding and abetting a convicted felon just because he's cute? And when he later tries to let her go so she won't get caught up in the bad thing chasing him, she practically begs him to stay with her using flimsy excuses like "I'm in this now too because you used my car" and the like. And then just flat out asks him for his phone number, somehow managing to run over his foot with her car in the process (oh sure, we've all done that am I right girls? (gag) ). When she does get home safe and sound she promptly does NOT call the police to report the kidnapping, his impending plan to bust someone out of the looney bin or, you know, the dead body in the road. And she continued being ridiculously stupid and unbelievable for the rest of the book. She kept getting threatened by mob thugs, followed by extremely conspicuous vehicles, and having guns waved in her face....but forgetting to tell the male protagonist about it whenever they spoke because she was too busy thinking about how cute he was and fantasizing that his every word, gesture and eyebrow raise meant he was a split-second away from confessing his undying love. (hide spoiler)] Seriously, this is the character I'm supposed to identify with as the reader?? Who on Earth could look at this woman's actions and think "oh sure, I'd totally do the same thing if I were in her place." It makes me worry about the author that she thinks this is appropriate behavior...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Kay

    ★★★★✩ I like to make greeting cards. In fact, my BFfL (best friend for life) insists on dragging me out of the house (and away from my books!) every now and then to a card-making class. I love a good mystery, too. Throw in a little romance and I’m ecstatic. Combining these three elements, the bases of this series, piqued my interest when I saw book #4 was on audio at my public library (everyone knows I’m addicted audiobooks). Since Debbie, one of my GRs friends, has a fit every time I start a ser ★★★★✩ I like to make greeting cards. In fact, my BFfL (best friend for life) insists on dragging me out of the house (and away from my books!) every now and then to a card-making class. I love a good mystery, too. Throw in a little romance and I’m ecstatic. Combining these three elements, the bases of this series, piqued my interest when I saw book #4 was on audio at my public library (everyone knows I’m addicted audiobooks). Since Debbie, one of my GRs friends, has a fit every time I start a series out of order, I thought it might actually be worth the effort for me to arrange an interlibrary transfer via my computer (the easy part) and physically go (the hard part) to my Brick & Mortar Public Library to retrieve the first in the Wollie Shelley Mysteries available to me only in the Dead Tree Version (hardback). Surprise! It was. What can I say? This is a fun book, with occasional touching moments. I thought the heroine was going to be TSTL when she instantly falls for a potential murderer, but she held my attention. Got to love a woman named after an eighteenth century feminist (Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley) who keeps a Regency Romance in her jacket pocket – just in case there’s time to read it. Time? That Wollie doesn’t find; there’s a lot happening in this book. There is also wit and charm; enough that I’ll be making another trek to the library for the second in the series. That’s saying something, since I’m the spoiled “Download Queen of Cyberspace” now. Ms. Kozak’s writing flows at a nice clip making it well worth the journey. I liked sentences like: “He hacked again, hard enough to rearrange his lungs.” I’ll keep you posted about the audiobook.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    It's funny - I love to read this author's blog, but this book was so all-over-the-place. I did like the main character, Wollie, but thought it was nuts how far she would go for a man she didn't know (who could be a murderer). The storyline was uneven and disjointed.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer A.M.

    It was ok. The middle dragged, but the ending wasn't too bad. I might pick up the next in the series, but then again, I might not.

  6. 5 out of 5

    M. Garzon

    I have to say I'm quite surprised at some of the poor reviews this book has gotten. It may not be a great work of literature but then, it clearly does not pretend to be. It's a lighthearted, clever, madcap mystery with an odd romance thrown in. Add an interesting family and two quirky friends and you've got a winning, albeit unusual, cocktail. The characters were all well-developed and the plot, though a bit convoluted at times, was well thought out. I loved Wollie's character and the author's br I have to say I'm quite surprised at some of the poor reviews this book has gotten. It may not be a great work of literature but then, it clearly does not pretend to be. It's a lighthearted, clever, madcap mystery with an odd romance thrown in. Add an interesting family and two quirky friends and you've got a winning, albeit unusual, cocktail. The characters were all well-developed and the plot, though a bit convoluted at times, was well thought out. I loved Wollie's character and the author's breezy, conversational style was easy to get lost in. This book made me laugh out loud more than once. What more could I ask for?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I first knew Harley Jane Kozak for her work as an actress (she played Rick Moranis’ wife in the movie "Parenthood," among many other roles); "Dating Dead Men" is her first book in the series featuring L.A. greeting card artist Wollie Shelley who is participating in a research project, dating 40 men in 60 days. Her plans hit a speed bump when she finds a body at the local state mental hospital where her schizophrenic brother P.B. is a patient. When Wollie gets taken hostage soon after by a charis I first knew Harley Jane Kozak for her work as an actress (she played Rick Moranis’ wife in the movie "Parenthood," among many other roles); "Dating Dead Men" is her first book in the series featuring L.A. greeting card artist Wollie Shelley who is participating in a research project, dating 40 men in 60 days. Her plans hit a speed bump when she finds a body at the local state mental hospital where her schizophrenic brother P.B. is a patient. When Wollie gets taken hostage soon after by a charismatic “doctor” on the run from the Mob, she finds herself drawn into a treasure hunt for a mobster’s pinky ring, while dodging assassins, mobsters and psychopaths. Nevertheless, Wollie's determined to protect her brother, care for the fake doc's ferret while helping his little girl find her voice again, take ownership of her franchised Welcome! Greetings store, and survive all her blind dates. I found it to be a well-written and funny first novel with interesting characters, especially her co-worker Fredreeq and best friend Joey (the former star of "Gun Girl") who help prepare her many dates and cover for mishaps with the humorless Welcome! Greetings representative Mr. Bundt. I will admit that some of Wollie's blind dates started to blur together after a while, but then again, Wollie likely felt the same way. Since the description of the main character fits Harley Jane Kozak to a “T,” I had no problem envisioning her as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (as Wollie explains, her mother was whimsical when it came to names; apparently P.B. got it worse). The only drawback to having a series of mystery novels where dating is the theme of the series, is that it precludes the opportunity for Wollie to settle down with anyone, and I really liked the guy she connected with at the end of the first book. Oh, well. I’m curious enough to check out the next book in the series, though. I will try to keep an open mind!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Picked this up in the audiobooks section of the library because I needed something for my commute. Figured it would be light chick lit. While the protagonist was likable, this is a story that tried to do too much and took too long. First she's going on 30 blind dates, then she meets a dark/handsome/dangerous stranger, then she tries to help him get out of trouble, then she has to save her brother from murder charges?! All while harboring a fugitive ferret? I figured I would ride it out for the com Picked this up in the audiobooks section of the library because I needed something for my commute. Figured it would be light chick lit. While the protagonist was likable, this is a story that tried to do too much and took too long. First she's going on 30 blind dates, then she meets a dark/handsome/dangerous stranger, then she tries to help him get out of trouble, then she has to save her brother from murder charges?! All while harboring a fugitive ferret? I figured I would ride it out for the commute ... then I realized it was one of 9 discs, and it was taking too long to get to anywhere, so I skipped discs 5-8 and just listened to the end. And it wasn't even satisfying. All this to say: Don't bother.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The book could not keep my attention for more than a few moments at a time. The pace was frenetic, the characters inconsistent and what I understood of the plot was improbable. Miss Golly Wolley wants to own her own business on the one hand but does insane things like breaking into a hospital past midnight to leave her brother aluminum foil for no particularly good reason. Basically she is the kind of woman who walks down a dark alley in the middle of the night and then wonders how she could be The book could not keep my attention for more than a few moments at a time. The pace was frenetic, the characters inconsistent and what I understood of the plot was improbable. Miss Golly Wolley wants to own her own business on the one hand but does insane things like breaking into a hospital past midnight to leave her brother aluminum foil for no particularly good reason. Basically she is the kind of woman who walks down a dark alley in the middle of the night and then wonders how she could be so unlucky as to get attacked. Good golly Molly.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Avid Series Reader

    I couldn't identify with the wacky characters. Their behavior was hard to believe. This was less humorous or entertaining than the first Stephanie Plum. The story is mostly visual; could be a TV movie for a teenage audience. I won't read any more in this series or anything else written by Harley Jane Kozak.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mahoghani 23

    Funny, whimsical and a surprisingly good read. Don't place too much emphasis on the storyline being a bit unbelievable; what rational, untrained, everyday citizen misled, trick and manipulate stone killers?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pat Roberts

    The story line for this is far weaker than the author's first book, but entertaining nonetheless.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate McDougall Sackler

    A campy entertaining caper about the mob, owning a small business and trying to find Mr. Right. Story is choppy at times and not all loose ends are tied up. Fun, but fluff.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marfita

    I counted 60 characters, all requiring their own names. Well, except the Vons bag lady. The main characters' names are a bit contrived (mostly the Shelleys), but this was a good read. I will definitely continue with the series. There is a certain amount of amusement with the rush to date 50 men, but mostly this is a Cozy Thriller - if there is such a thing. Wollie is pursued by the mob, assassins, all in the week where her greeting card shop is being evaluated by secret shoppers to see if it's up I counted 60 characters, all requiring their own names. Well, except the Vons bag lady. The main characters' names are a bit contrived (mostly the Shelleys), but this was a good read. I will definitely continue with the series. There is a certain amount of amusement with the rush to date 50 men, but mostly this is a Cozy Thriller - if there is such a thing. Wollie is pursued by the mob, assassins, all in the week where her greeting card shop is being evaluated by secret shoppers to see if it's upgrade material, giving Wollie the chance to buy the franchise ... with the down payment money from the dating study. Can she keep up appearances at the shop while her schizophrenic brother, the mob, an attractive ex-con, her funkily dressed assistant, and all her dates conspire to undo all she's worked for? Oh, and let's not forget the ferret. Good fun and romance. Can't imagine what is left for a sequel.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    This was trying I think for a chick lit feel, with a blend of mystery, humor, and romance told first person in a breezy voice. Wollie Shelley is the proprietor of a card shop and is part of the "Dating Project" requiring her to date 40 men in 60 days. Her life is complicated by her brother, who resides in a mental hospital. Given that the start to this novel reads like whacky, whimsical chick lit--which I wouldn't mind so much, if it had not veered into cheesy, off the rails romance aisle. In th This was trying I think for a chick lit feel, with a blend of mystery, humor, and romance told first person in a breezy voice. Wollie Shelley is the proprietor of a card shop and is part of the "Dating Project" requiring her to date 40 men in 60 days. Her life is complicated by her brother, who resides in a mental hospital. Given that the start to this novel reads like whacky, whimsical chick lit--which I wouldn't mind so much, if it had not veered into cheesy, off the rails romance aisle. In this novel, a man takes our heroine hostage and she's in love. The way she sees it, "the guy wasn't a kidnapper...for one thing, there were those dimples." Ooooh Kay. And soon I was out of there. Another Stephanie Plum wannabe that just didn't work for me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I couldn't get through it. The main characters annoyed me by the third chapter. Well, annoyed is not the right word - repulsed is the right word. I like the author's acting projects, but felt like she was trying too hard to be quirky. The lack of logic displayed by the main characters was worse than a Woody Woodpecker episode and not even close to as entertaining. I might try her later books, but gave this one back to the library after multiple attempts to read. I wanted to like it. I really did I couldn't get through it. The main characters annoyed me by the third chapter. Well, annoyed is not the right word - repulsed is the right word. I like the author's acting projects, but felt like she was trying too hard to be quirky. The lack of logic displayed by the main characters was worse than a Woody Woodpecker episode and not even close to as entertaining. I might try her later books, but gave this one back to the library after multiple attempts to read. I wanted to like it. I really did.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Idiotic. Don’t waste your time on this one. Too many aggravating things about it to go into detail, but here are my top five: Wollie’s name, her adamant refusal to go to the police, her willingness to forgive Doc, the misleading title (I was expecting vampires or something) and the sheer boneheaded stupidity of the characters.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Sharpnack

    I read this b/c the author and actress, Harley Jean Kozak, is from Lincoln, NE, where I live. I am sorry I wasted my time. The plot was hard to follow; the cliches straight out of film noir, which I've never liked. I gave it two stars n/c there was some good tension that kept me reading toward the climax, and I didn't figure out the identity of the baddest guy until I was told.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kaija

    I wasn't a big fan of this book. The main character decides that someone who is kidnapping her is actually a good person and follows him throughout the book, convinced she loves him. On top of that, the ending wasn't really that great.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I totally agree with Amy and Jennifer. I am dumping this book after wasting time getting halfway through with it There are too many good books out there to waste time on this overly complicated, superlight (didn't think these two words could be part of the same description) mish mash of a story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    OK story, OK characters - the best friend MADE the book! Laugh-out-loud dialogue for best friend - wish all the characters were like her!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    I enjoyed the light tone and pace of this book, but I found the ending messy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Randal

    More of a rom-com than a whodunit. There's a fair bit of getting chased around by bad guys and a couple of murders, but the clues are sort of clunky and obvious, the plotting feels a little random, and there are minus style points for non-essential use of Nazis. (view spoiler)[The whole 3 C's of diamonds as a clue doesn't work ... the value of the ring / McGuffin comes from its history, not the grade of the gemstone ... and that's the driver of the whole plot, so it really should be more coheren More of a rom-com than a whodunit. There's a fair bit of getting chased around by bad guys and a couple of murders, but the clues are sort of clunky and obvious, the plotting feels a little random, and there are minus style points for non-essential use of Nazis. (view spoiler)[The whole 3 C's of diamonds as a clue doesn't work ... the value of the ring / McGuffin comes from its history, not the grade of the gemstone ... and that's the driver of the whole plot, so it really should be more coherent. (hide spoiler)] On the plus side, it's funny in places and Kozak gets good mileage out of the Dating Project (the heroine's side gig is being paid to go on dates and record them as research for a Dr. Phil-type writer). The main character is something of an everywoman -- she's trying to make a go out of running a Hallmark Welcome! card shop in a seedy part of LA with help from a nicely eclectic / wacky group of friends, trying to keep her aging VW running, caring for an extended family -- so easy to relate to. No super-sleuth with exotic gadgets jetting among chic locales with an unlimited bank account, she engages one bad guy by hammering him in the face with a size 11 shoe. I do wonder who the target reader is to the point I would have a hard time recommending it. The light romance / adventure genre feels like chick lit, but the way the main character, a six-foot tall California blonde, keeps describing her scanty clothing / exposed flesh / bouncing boobs / handsy dates (including one Harvey Weinstein clone) it comes across like Kozak is writing for teenage boys. The end result is something that I can't see handing to either group. 3-3.5 stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The title of the book, Dating Dead Men, doesn't seem to fit the plot. This book by Harley Jane Kozak, is actually about a card store owner, Wollie Shelley, who is getting paid to date forty different men as research for an upcoming book. Her life gets complicated when she discovers a dead body while on her way to visit her brother in the Rio Pescado mental institution! She is temporarily taken hostage, threatened by bad guys, and talked into taking care of a ferret. While all this is happening, The title of the book, Dating Dead Men, doesn't seem to fit the plot. This book by Harley Jane Kozak, is actually about a card store owner, Wollie Shelley, who is getting paid to date forty different men as research for an upcoming book. Her life gets complicated when she discovers a dead body while on her way to visit her brother in the Rio Pescado mental institution! She is temporarily taken hostage, threatened by bad guys, and talked into taking care of a ferret. While all this is happening, she is trying to seek an upgrade in status for her store or else she will be put out of business. I liked the characters in this book and the descriptions of the dates Wollie went on. I liked the list of qualities one should look for in a good date! I like to read books that are part mystery and part romance, and that's what this book is.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    If you like humorous mysteries, you'll like this one. Wollie (full name Wollstonecraft) owns a card shop, has a schizophrenic brother she's trying to protect and a new boyfriend who may be a killer. She's also the target of a group of Mafia killers who think she has something of value they want. One last thing--she's the guardian of a ferret named Margaret.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Chapman

    A very fun, light mystery read. Perfect part of a public library reading challenge. The mystery was a little hard to follow at times, but there were fun characters, a hint of a romance, and enough quirkiness to keep the reader very entertained. A very quick read...I read it over a weekend.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    couldn't get through it--mc tstl.

  28. 5 out of 5

    L Kate

    Gripping. Couldn’t put it down. Wow. Are there more - yes! Loved it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gigi

    Nice, fun, light read. Loved the main character. Laughed out loud several times. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    2.5 stars Similar to Stephanie Plum books

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