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Retro Reading: Whack 'n' Roll by Gail Oust

Updated on May 13, 2022
Three missing women and an arm. Roll the dice and see who's not so nice
Three missing women and an arm. Roll the dice and see who's not so nice

A Roll of these Dice could Get You Murdered

When it comes to any type of game I'd choose Monopoly anytime, but yes there are people who play card and dice games so I don't know the rules. Besides I think I'd probably get bored playing them.

One of my former co-workers used to tell us on Thursday's she and a group of ladies would play Bunco and the only thing about it I knew was it involved dice. Even after reading the first installment of the Bunco Babes Mysteries, Whack ''n' Roll I still don't understand the game.

Author Gail Oust sets the story in the retirement complex of Serenity Cove Estates in South Carolina. I like places like this (not for the retirement value) but a community where everyone pretty much knows each other and the name of the game is to do nothing all day. Well except in widow Kate McCall's case she likes to play Bunco and golf with the girls while they try to figure out crimes.

As the book begins the Babes are playing golf when they discover a decomposing arm in a Wal-Mart bag after Kate misses the green and her ball ends up in the water. Kudo's to Oust for bringing the action on right away (but the only problem in the beginning and throughout the book are too many characters. There are a few major characters but it was hard to remember all of them) but at the same time the beginning does begin to lag.

After the Babes are questioned by the police they head over to their favorite diner and find out their favorite waitress, Vera, has suddenly disappeared without a trace. As they start putting a few things together, they realize no one has heard from their one friend Claudia who's up and left with a man she met on a dating site to go camping with. Then Kate discovers her neighbor Rosalie is also MIA.

Right there is the perfect setup for the book with three characters missing and a decomposing arm.

Obsessed with watching reruns of CSI and Law & Order, Kate enlists the help of her friend Pam (another crime buff) and they in turn bring in the rest of the Babes by calling an emergency Bunco game. The women seem to gossip more than play and by the end of the game everyone in this over 60 crowd has some task at hand.

Kate pretty much does a lot of the investigating. She orders books and even buys herself a toolbox to keep her "crime supplies" in. She follows the police when they discover more body parts and thinks that she's always welcome at the Sherriff Wiggins' office. Whenever she arrives she not only comes bearing gifts but studies his actions.

While the story progresses so does the pacing of the novel. It soon becomes one you can't put down because Oust really takes the reader for a ride, but then again a lot of the unnecessary characters are involved and even more are added. It's a lot easier to keep up with the male characters in the book since there's a small handful.

From what seemed like a so-so book really turned into a fun ride with some really off the wall fun characters. For a change it was nice to have senior citizen crime fighters.

But who's arm was it? I better not say since I don't want to get whacked.

EDIT- the name of the book has changed


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