Elaine Viets introduced us to Helen Hawthorne in the Dead End Job Mystery series in 2003, and hundreds of thousands of readers have enjoyed the sharp witted, feisty heroine as she works her way through one low paying, unsatisfying job after another.

Her reasons for preferring these dead-end jobs over the high-powered career she left, her reasons for ending up in a run down residential hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, and her need to keep a low profile — especially where the police are concerned — add an underlayer of extra mystery to the series. These books have plenty of mystery, though, as Helen keeps stumbling onto murders.

In Pumped for Murder, the 10th book in the series, Helen has found happiness with a new husband and a new job as his partner in a private detective agency. She soon finds herself back in another dead-end job, though, when a blonde bombshell walks into their agency looking for someone to shadow her husband.

At the same time, Helen’s husband is on another case, finding the truth about a supposed suicide for the dead man’s brother. Both cases get more complicated as they go along, and Helen is still stumbling onto surprises.

Helen is a likable sleuth and her husband joins a fun cast of repeat characters. The details of her jobs and the people in them are always one of the most entertaining parts of books, since Viets is a keen observer. In this book, the world of competitive bodybuilding is opened, and we get a peek into the life of a start-up private detective firm, as well.

From ‘roid rage and a seedy bar to the elegant suburbs and untouchably rich former drug lords, Pumped for Murder delivers a good, complex puzzle and an entertaining read.