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Andrea Sisco Has a Deadly Habit

Updated on August 24, 2010

A Deadly Habit: A Penelope Santucci Mystery

by Andrea J. Sisco

Publisher: Five Star (ME), an imprint of Gale, part of Cengage Larning. Hardcover: 316 pages

Review Rating *****


Genre: Murder mystery with a delicious side of comedy.

A Deadly Habit, cover art. Copyright 2009, Andrea J. Sisco. Publisher: Five Star ME.
A Deadly Habit, cover art. Copyright 2009, Andrea J. Sisco. Publisher: Five Star ME.

A Deadly Habit

Read, Review, Write!

©Patty Inglish, 2009. All rights reserved.

Andrea Sisco is from Minnesota and, intermittently, the Great Southwest. Well versed in writing and reviewing, she has hosted a successful Twin City television series called Book Talk, has interviewed many authors, and has been a Probation Officer. She knows plenty about crime.

Today, Andrea is co-owner since 2004 with good friend Connie Anderson of Armchair Interviews, a leading review website that has logged millions of views in just a few years. In fact, Armchair Interviews was quickly recognized four times in a row on the Writer's Digest Best 101 Websites for Authors from 2006 through 2009! Andrea Sisco knows about writing.

Word has it that Andrea is completing a book that will guide authors in how to get from the bottom of the reviewer's stack to its top in short order. This should be another top flight literary accomplishment to go with A Deadly Habit.

From from publication to mid-2010, A Deadly Habit quickly sold out three separate printings of the original. It was followed by a Kindle® edition and a Large Print edition. A hardback version is also a leading seller and is found frequently on eBay already as a collectible. Perhaps we will see a film of the story in the future!.

Watch Out for That Nun!

She'll garrott you with a rosary.

Bad guys, this is more than you bargained for. Presenting her first novel, Andrea Sisco opens an invigorating new series that is funny, thought-provoking, and fraught with dangers that most readers will not encounter in their lifetimes. As a Minnesota probation officer and an independent crime-solving go-getter, protagonist Penelope "Pen" Santucci is ready to take a leading place among fictional female sleuths.

Witty narratives and dialogues, unique storylines, and entertaining subplots make it fun for the rest of us to experience Pen's dangers vicariously. The book's characters seem pretty three- dimensional right from the start, but at the end of the book we want to know more. This is reminiscent of the ongoing character study of Kinsey Milhone through the Grafton alphabet murder books, and Pen’s favorite possession is indeed A is for Alibi. Meanwhile, Penelope may leave the alphabet behind in the dust with her own cases! However, not always proceeding according to code, "Pen" may be a euphemism for a place Ms. Santucci may one day call home.

Nuns' private investigations team. Could it be CSI Santucci?
Nuns' private investigations team. Could it be CSI Santucci?

Guns and Rosaries

I enjoyed this book, because I could be present amid murders, spilled blood, and sinister plans without witnessing the over-the-top blood and gore of stories like Drag Me Back to Hell and early Stephanie Plum. One needed a flak jacket and a stiff drink to read some of those.

A Deadly Habit also contains a bit of romantic comedy, an element recalling the Thin Man tales and Nick and Nora Charles - but at times in reversed roles and sometimes in nuns’ habits -- Quirky.

A potential offbeat love interest in the story can please readers that enjoy a relationship subplot, while not interfering with a suspenseful mystery and the promise of mayhem. In addition, the participation of priests and nuns in criminal investigations is a hoot as well as a demonstration that they are strong people. This is all bloody good fun.

Laughter and Bloody Murder

From the start, the novel's characters reminded me of real flesh-and-blood people with problems - some small, some large, and some funny.

This story had me laughing before I finishing the first page and by the third page, I had to stop reading and laughing to catch my breath. By the second chapter, I wondered if the characters would become more fleshed-out and bloodied by mayhem, while simultaneously making me laugh.

Midway through this book, Pen Santucci became one of my favorite female private eyes. With a team that includes a priest, a nun - sometimes two - and a high-powered criminal attorney, Pen persuades me to want to read more about her life and her cases.

Perry Mason says:

Paul, you'd better get a Nun for this one.
Paul, you'd better get a Nun for this one.

Dearest Penelope

You know a woman is in trouble if she goes to Catholic Confession when she is Protestant or Undecided. You also know that a Father Confessor needs a sabbatical when you see him compound the crimes of that confession.

Pen was fascinated as a child by the drama and ceremony of the Catholic church and dressed up in bed sheets to imitate the local nuns. As an adult, she creates an occasion to wear a nun's habit to an extraordinary event; but before that opportunity can cook, Pen finds herself as a twenty-something in the same confessional where she confessed false sins in her bed sheets.

Penelope Santucci is a Probation Officer married to an attorney, except that they're divorced and he's recently murdered. She was too close to the scene of the crime, but she just had to retrieve her first edition of A is for Alibi. Now the police won't leave her alone and her ex-mother-in-law hates her more than ever.

Father Daniel Kopecky hears her adult confession and introduces her to a good looking, no nonsense criminal attorney, Marco Silva. Silva attempts to help her while she interferes by helping herself on the sly with the aid of the Father and a nun. Penelope is a wisecracking risk taker and persuades others to follow her -- If there were a taxi meter running up her felony account, we'd smell it smoking and see it flashing TILT.

Amongst all of this are a loving and colorful Santucci family and an ex-father-in-law on Pen's side throughout. The heavens rain felonies from the oddest places and Someone falls into an open grave - repeatedly.

This combination of mayhem and hijinks is a refreshing delight, with a strong mystery and strong humor to accompany it. The Penelope Santucci Series will surely be a hit - in all meanings of the word.


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Yes it is, if *I* do say so yourself!

      Thanks for the smiles this morning :)

    • profile image

      Sean Sisco 8 years ago

      What the hell? That's weird. My last name is Sisco. It's weird that someone wrote a book with a character that has the last same name as me. Sisco is an uncommon last name, if I do say so myself.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      This book went into a second printing already in August, 2009.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      LTrask - Thanks very much for the comment! You're quite right about the inexpensive but very valuable entertainment. I think authors everywhere would welcome your words and I know that Ray Bradbury especially would love to hear that. So would Mark Twain and Stephen King. Andrea Sisco will enjoy your comment, I'm sure.

    • profile image

      LTrask 8 years ago

      i enjoyed your critique of this book and am anxious to read it! In these bad economic times reading has made a glorious comeback as a source of inexpensive entertainment. One can go any where in the world while reading and not leave the comfort of your own home.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      meishomecorner - writing about ways to overcome arthritis will prove a gift to meny people suffering its effects. Cookbooks are also a hobby of mine. Thanks for visiting.

      Dolores - yes, I think they can be funny sometimes. Mary Daheim wrote one called Dead Man Docking, in which a couple on board a cruise liner were very much like Nick and Nora Charles. That was a fun one. I hope you'll like the Pen Santucci stories. Thanks for visiting!

      alekhouse - Thanks for commenting! This Hub was fun to do because the story had me laughing sio much. I am going to start reading it again this weekend.

      RGraf - I love mysteries as well. I just started reading the old Judge Dee Mysteries and those are pretty good; but I wish Barry Hughart had been able to produce more of the Number 10 Ox series - it was so funny as well as mysterious and a bit of a fantasy. Thanks for writing!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      This sounds great! I'm got to look into it. I'm getting back into my love of reading again and mysteries are really up my alley.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks, Patti, for familiarizing us with this very funny book. Enjoyed your hub. I really like the title. Clever...

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      NIce review. Every once in a while I really like a comic mystery. The genre itself - the amatuer slueth can often be so full of cliche, it might as well be funny. I'll look for this one, thanks, Patty.

    • melshomecorner profile image

      Melinda Winner 8 years ago from Mississippi

      A Deadly Habit was a perfect hub for me to find. My book comes out in two weeks, Thank you so much for the in site. I love reading your hubs, GREAT JOB !