One Fine Mess

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
382 Pages
Reviewed on 09/28/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Gobi Jane for Readers' Favorite

In One Fine Mess by Mark Petersen, a woman plans and kills her abusive husband, together with her lover. While Jules Nichols is excited that she can now leave stripping behind and settle down with the man she loves, Wesley can’t stop panicking. Because of his gambling problem, Wesley gets himself entangled with Cadillac Frank Cannizaro, a deadly, unforgiving character no one wants to mess with. But trying to handle Cadillac Frank only leads to more dead bodies, and this eventually gets the attention of a mobster. Things escalate when Wesley and their baby are kidnapped. Can Jules handle the mess that started with one single murder while a relentless cop still works to uncover Eddie’s killer?

It is a fast-paced, humorous, and fun read, a most suitable story for fans of comedy and crime. One Fine Mess is well-plotted and with characters that are colorful and sophisticated. The fun starts on the first page, with Jules feeling ecstatic about finally putting her life with Eddie behind her and confident that everything has been well-planned. But Wesley is fidgety and the reader gets the bizarre feeling that he might give them away at any moment. The descriptions are gorgeous and the author weaves interesting details into the story. Character development is impeccable and the humor doesn’t ebb as the story moves from one engrossing page to the next. Mark Petersen is not just a great storyteller but a wonderful entertainer. I loved the strong writing and clever handling of the plot.

K.C. Finn

One Fine Mess is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama, comedy and crime caper sub-genres, and was penned by author Mark Petersen. Written for adult audiences, the work contains non-graphic references to violence and sexual scenes, as well as the use of moderately explicit language which is appropriate to the theme. The action centers on Jules and her boyfriend Wesley, who would love to settle down and start a family, just as soon as they can get Jules’s abusive husband Eddie out of the picture. But as one crime leads to another, and another, Jules begins to realize that getting away with murder isn’t as simple as she first envisioned.

Author Mark Petersen has crafted a fantastic modern crime caper that will be sure to entertain audiences from cover to cover. The indulgent joy of reading about criminals trying to get away with it is not lost on Petersen, who crafts his characters sympathetically, but still gives them plenty of dark sides and sharp edges. The situational comedy is well placed and clearly described to give some really cinematic and memorable moments, whilst the dialogue also delivers a fantastic gut-punch as the hapless and more capable characters clash over the many shenanigans of the plot. From chapter to chapter the work is hilarious and unexpected, touching base with reality but also keeping the atmosphere light and fun despite its dark themes. Overall, I would certainly recommend One Fine Mess to caper fans seeking a criminally good read.

Romuald Dzemo

One Fine Mess by Mark Petersen is a hilarious tale that fans of sleuth and murder stories will enjoy. Jules Nichols is an itty-bitty brunette who married Eddie. She was “young and dumb” and didn’t listen to the advice of her aunt. And she’s been terribly abused by her husband. She is tired of stripping in order to pay bills and fend for her little sister. She plans to raise a family with her goofy lover, Wesley, but for her dreams to come true, they have to remove the only obstacle that stands in the way: Eddie. Killing Eddie isn’t difficult and while the act has been well-planned, the murder weapon won’t stop sticking out. Things get worse when Wesley’s gambling brings him into the crosshairs with Frank, which leads to another murder when he tries to handle things by himself. The couple eventually finds themselves with more dead bodies and a cop that won’t let go of Eddie’s case. Things escalate when Wesley and their new baby are kidnapped. Does Jules have what it takes to save the day?

One Fine Mess by Mark Petersen felt like watching a good comedy. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the quirky manner in which the author describes Jules and that quirkiness accompanies the character throughout the story. Her point of view is unique and engrossing and it is so skillfully written that I found it easy to be absorbed in her world. The witticism and the fun conversations elevate the story, transforming it into an enjoyable ride. I enjoyed the lightness with which the author writes about serious issues like murder. Right from the start of the story, Jules speaks so offhandedly about Eddie's murder, saying he deserved it. But the consequences get serious as the story moves ahead. One Fine Mess will give you the laughter that you very much need. It features compelling characters, a wonderful plot, and superb writing.

Christian Sia

One Fine Mess by Mark Petersen is a story for readers who enjoy quirky characters, an enticing plot, and atmospheric writing. It is good comedy. Jules Nichols is tired of stripping and being abused by her husband, Eddie. To get the life she wants with her lover, Wesley — and that includes plenty of babies — she makes an elaborate plan to kill Eddie. Everything goes smoothly, but Wesley is apprehensive. When Wesley runs afoul of Cadillac Frank, he finds himself in a threatening situation, and trying to resolve matters ends with more dead bodies. A mobster is pulled into the game and things escalate pretty fast when Jules gets the call: Wesley and their new baby have been kidnapped. There is a cop obsessed with Eddie’s murder. What will she do to save the two people who matter most to her?

One Fine Mess is an amazing story with a protagonist that got me laughing throughout the entire story. Mark Petersen has the gift for character and plot and knows how to establish the connection between the characters and readers. The humor is strong and constant. The characters are natural and quirky and the descriptions are terrific. The liveliness in the narrative voice and the keen sense of humor — even when dealing with the grim situations of murder — are elements that gripped me and made me care about the characters. Jules is my favorite character and reading about her brought tears of laughter to my eyes. She has a unique way of looking at life and one immediately gets the impression that she will do anything to protect what is valuable to her — her relationship and her child. One Fine Mess features gorgeous prose, exciting and focused scenes, wonderful dialogue, and phenomenal characters. I just became a fan of this author.

Rabia Tanveer

One Fine Mess by Mark Petersen is the story of Jules as she looks for happiness in the most unconventional way. Jules Nicholas is a woman with dreams of having a happy home with babies, but those dreams are not going to be fulfilled with her abusive husband Eddie. Lucky for her, she has a lover, Wesley, whom she could trust to have that life with. All Wesley has to do is kill Eddie so that they can get his insurance money to live a happy life. But nothing is easy in this world and that becomes apparent as fate comes after them with one bad thing after the other. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong and now it is up to Jules to make sure her dreams don’t become a nightmare.

Oh boy, oh boy, this is a lot of fun. One Fine Mess is everything that you need. It is fast-paced; it is filled to the brim with action; it has a heroine who runs the story and a brilliant plot that makes everything fun. The humor is alive in the narrative and I am surprised at how the author can infuse humor in situations so effortlessly. Jules’ relationship with Wesley is not much better than her relationship with Eddie, but at least he is not abusive. I am not saying I love their dynamic, but it works for this story. There is just the right amount of push and pull to keep me interested. Mark Petersen has a sharp wit and it is very apparent in the story. The plot itself is very interesting, it is very well executed and it is perfect in every sense of the word!