Seattle detective turned author J. Soldier McKennitt learns from reading a scathing review in the Port Henry Ledger that critic Betsy Tremaine is not a fan. He and his brother, police sketch artist Taylor McKennitt, surmise that Betsy is a dried-up old hag. But Soldier learns that nothing could be further from the truth when he runs into her at a mystery convention.

Soldier initially gets his revenge when a writing exercise turns into humiliation for Betsy, but he can't deny the intense attraction he feels for her. Betsy's life has take a very surreal turn; first she discovers she has a stalker, then she has an embarrassing encounter with her least favorite author/nemesis. When the stalker follows Betsy to the conference, Soldier starts to get worried. Then Betsy's drink is spiked with LSD and things start to get really ugly.

Write down the name Marianne Stillings—she is definitely an author to watch! The Damsel in This Dress is a spectacular debut that manages to be funny, touching, thrilling and sexy all at the same time. (Aug., 384 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith