The third book in the Black Stiletto series dropped to ninety-nine cents during a promotion on Amazon and I swooped in the pick it up. Having enjoyed the first two books in the series, how did I feel about this one?

In a word . . . disappointment.

Like the previous entries in the series, this one was told from differeent points of view. We have Judy’s diaries, telling us about her life as a costumed vigilante in the late 50s and early 60s (this one takes place in 1960). We have her son, Martin, telling his story in the present and stressing about keeping his mother’s secret. And we add a third voice . . . Maggie, who is the doctor who is caring for Judy in a nursing home where she lives due to her Alzheimers disease. Maggie is also dating Martin.

First, the pros: The Black Stilettto is a heroic figure. She goes out of her way to protect the innocent, even at great threat to her own safety. Her fearlessness shows again and again as she puts her life at risk to protect a Chinese boy and his widowed mother. She even offers them financial help when they need it. Martin loves his mother and struggles to keep her secret. He also is obviously a loving father, worried for the saftey of his daughter after she was assaulted in New York in the second book. And Maggie desperately wants to love him, despite her (rightful) feeling that he is hiding something important from her.

Now, the cons: Judy is more naive in this story than before. She gets drunk and seduces one of the men from her gym. This is compounded by the fact that she later finds out that he’s married. Granted, he has severe remorse and refuses to do it again, but he should have had the strength to stop to begin with. Judy also sleeps with another man who is wining and dining her.

This story also throws politics into the mix. She volunteers for Kennedy’s campaign. Her superhuman intuition tells her, when she looks at Kennedy’s Republican opponent, that Nixon can’t be trusted. The Republican is villified and the Democrat romanticized. Surprise, surprise . . ..

I’m not saying that Kennedy was a bad president. I’d put him in the top ten presidents that we’ve ever had. But he had just as many faults as Nixon.

I’ve already picked up the next book (or downloaded, as the case may be). Hopefully, it’ll be better than this one. I’d give this one three out of five stars.

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