Pillow Stalk

Image of Pillow Stalk
Release Date: 
August 15, 2012
Polyester Press
Reviewed by: 

“a multifaceted story . . . plenty of surprises . . . And what an ending!”

Poor Madison Night. All she wants to do is start over in a new town with a new business and forget the broken relationship she left behind in Philadelphia.

Despite a bum knee that slows her down, Madison is sure that after spending the last two years rebuilding her life in Dallas, she is finally in control of her destiny.

Forty-seven-year-old Madison has a thing for Doris Day. She surrounds herself with all items Doris: from the vintage clothing she wears to the pink atomic floor lamp in her apartment. She has managed to parlay her obsession with Doris into a decorating business and store featuring mid century modern items. She even named her dog “Rocky” after actor Hudson, Doris’ leading man in so many of her movies.

Madison is also blonde like Ms. Day. This detail becomes important when somebody starts killing off Doris Day lookalikes, propelling Madison smack dab into the middle of the action.

Because of her knee, Madison exercises every morning at a community pool. One of her fellow swimmers is another blonde who also resembles Doris Day. The swimmer borrows Madison’s robe and leaves the pool. A short time later Madison discovers the swimmer’s corpse in the parking lot next to her car.

When her friend and colleague in the business becomes a suspect in the swimmer’s death, feisty Madison battles to clear his name. Along the way she uncovers ever deeper layers of the mystery. The deeper she goes, the more complex and dangerous her life becomes. Although Madison has sworn off all relationships, she discovers that she is not as immune to the temptations of romance as she’d like to be.

Diane Vallere has woven a multifaceted story disguised as a cozy little mystery that starts out rather predictably but soon draws the reader into Madison’s mid century modern fantasy world of fashion, movies, friendship, loyalty, and violence. Ms. Vallere’s descriptions of the colors, textures and artifacts of the era bring back vivid memories for those of us who actually lived through it.

Although we encounter all the usual subjects, there are plenty of surprises to keep us guessing all the way to the end. And what an ending! Ms. Vallere drops an atomic bomb in the last few pages that will make every reader want to read her next book just to witness the fallout.