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FORTUNE REDDING

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Full Name: Fortune Redding
Series Name: The Miss Fortune Mysteries
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Jana DeLeon
Time Span: 2013 - 2020

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Fortune Redding is an agent with the CIA.
       She is, more specifically, an assassin with the Agency, taking out targets deemed in need of removal. She is very good at it - maybe too good. A fellow agent remarked, not inaccurately, that her "hit count makes Attila the Hun look like a pacifist". Mind you, Redding is not particularly blood-thirsty nor is she cavalier about taking someone out. She just falls into the darnedest situations where fighting back is required and she fights back really well.
       When we meet her, though, she is hiding up in Louisiana and that state will never be the same. She did not want to be there and she knew she would fit in there as well as a duck in a desert but she has no choice.
       On her latest mission, she was undercover delivering a payment to the world's biggest illegal arms dealer, Ahmad. Unfortunately, it was discovered too late that there was a horrible leak in the Agency and her cover was blown before she stepped foot into the hotel suite where the meet was taking place. She walked into a death trap dressed to kill in a slinky dress and stiletto heels and no place to hide a weapon, unaware that the brother of Ahmad was set to eliminate her. Stiletto heels can be pretty dangerous, it seems. To attackers.
       Now, unfortunately, thanks to the rat in the CIA and her having put that heel into the eye socket of the only sibling of a very powerful and very deadly man, Redding's life is soon to be over. "Seeing [her] dead has become the personal agenda of one of the biggest arms dealers of the decade...He's offering one million to anyone who brings [her] body to him. Ten million if someone brings [her] in alive."
       So for her own safety until they can get a line on the mole and on the arms-dealer, Redding just go into hiding.
       Enter the niece of the CIA Director. Lovely young woman, former beauty queen and currently working as a librarian. She has recently inherited a house in Louisiana from a great-aunt and was heading there to inventory things and get it ready to sell. Instead, her uncle pays for a summer in Europe so he can send Redding there in her place, taking the identity of Sandy-Sue Morrow.
       Since the niece had never been there and no one knew what she looked like, it was a perfect cover.
       Except that Redding is a trained assassin whose hair is cut as short as can be and still be hair and whose only use for makeup is to use it while undercover to take someone out (not on a date).
       And the folks she meets in Sinful, the name of the town in the bayou, are as interesting as her. It hardly takes a day before Redding becomes enmeshed in murder (she didn't kill this one). And that is just the start.

BOOKS

Number of Books:17
First Appearance:2013
Last Appearance:2020

1 Louisiana Longshot Louisiana Longshot
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2013

When a powerful arms dealer goes after Fortune Redding, the Director of the CIA wants her to go into hiding until they can get a line on the man. His daughter of the same age has recently inherited a old house in Sinful, Louisiana and Redding is sent there impersonating her. On her first day, a neighbor's pet shows up in Redding's yard with a human bone he dug up there.
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2 Lethal Bayou Beauty Lethal Bayou Beauty
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2013

Pansy Arceneaux had been a much disliked young woman in Sinful before she left for the bright lights of Hollywood. Now she is coming home to head up the local beauty pageant and who better to co-chair the event than Fortune Redding, the faux former beauty queen. When Pansy ends up dead, Redding knows it is just a matter of time before her cover is blown unless she and her two local friend, Ida Belle and Gertie, can solve the mystery quickly.
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3 Swamp Sniper Swamp Sniper
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2013

A candidate for Sinful mayor, Ted Williams, is found murdered. Sure he was a braggart and a Yankee but is that enough reason to kill him? Unfortunately Ida Belle is the chief suspect so her new friend Fortune Redding teams up with her and Gertie to catch the real killer.
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4 Swamp Team 3 Swamp Team 3
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2014

Fortune Redding has only been in Sinful for three weeks so far but what a month! It gets worse when a friend of hers in town, Ally, has her home torched but an arsonist. Ally herself is the chief suspect. It is time for Swamp Team 3 (Redding, Ida Belle, and Gertie) to fly into action to find who is the real match-lighter.
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5 Gator Bait Gator Bait
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2014

Hiding out in a small town, it is best to lie low. That is not what Fortune Redding is capable of doing. This extends to dating the hunky deputy that is already suspicious of her. Then someone tries to kill the officer and Redding figures the best person to catch a killer is a killer like her, especially with Ida Belle and Gertie to help.
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6 Soldiers of Fortune Soldiers of Fortune
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2015

The 4th of July is supposed to have explosions but they should be from fireworks. The big one that shakes things up in Sinful is thought to be a moonshine still going up but then it looks like it was a methlab. With the deputy on medical leave, the only ones capable of looking into it is Fortune Redding and her pals Ida Belle and Gertie.
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7 Hurricane Force Hurricane Force
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2015

A hurricane coming to town usually brings destruction and this latest one is no exception. It also brought a large cache of counterfeit money raining down on the town. The phony money is tied to Ahmad, Fortune Redding's nemesis, and his men come to town. To take them on means she needs the help of Deputy Carter but how will he react when he learns her truth.
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8 Fortune Hunter Fortune Hunter
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2016

A scammer is targeting the lonely women of Sinful and Fortune Redding joins with Ida Belle and Gertie to catch the perp who they are sure lives in Sinful. Before they can learn his identities, one of the victims is found murdered.
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9 Later Gator Later Gator
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2016

A poacher is busy in and around Sinful. Deputy Carter LeBlanc wants to catch him but the mayor, Celia, who wants the Deputy gone, is blocking him at every turn. When a relative of Gertie is arrested for the crimes, she and Fortune Redding and Ida Belle go into action to prove him innocent by catching the real crook.
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10 Hook, Line and Blinker Hook, Line and Blinker
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2017

Why would someone want to kill Ida Belle's Blazer? It makes no sense but someone is definitely out to take out that vehicle. That person has already tried to kill Hot Rod. And another try for the Blazer seems certain. Fortune Redding and Gertie decide to get involved.
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11 Change of Fortune Change of Fortune
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2018

Godzilla has taken to wandering into town and the citizens are up in arms and Gertie is certain her pet alligator is going to get hurt. Meanwhile, the trio of Gertie, Fortune Redding, and Ida Belle have worries that their nemesis Celia is up to something. And Redding's time in Sinful is nearing its time limit and she knows she will have to leave if she cannot draw out Ahmed and stop him.
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12 Reel of Fortune Reel of Fortune
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2018

Fortune Redding is no longer with the CIA. More amazing is she has returned to Sinful as a legitimate citizen. Then someone kills one of the local meanies and her pal Ally is the chief suspect. So Redding and Ida Belle and Gertie know they have to catch the real killer.
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13 Swamp Spook Swamp Spook
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2018

Sinful truly loves Halloween. It stages a week-long series of events and celebrations and the whole town takes part. Fortune Redding is given the role of 'executioner' and is given a head block, a hatchet, and a fake body. Coming back from a break, though, she find the fake body has been replaced with a real one and it is very much dead.
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14 Fortune Furlough Fortune Furlough
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2019

Fortune Redding joins Ida Belle and Gertie on a trip to Florida for a vacation. Sands and sea and rum drinks. Then the man that Gertie meets gets himself killed and Gertie is the chief suspect.
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15 Cajun Fried Felony Cajun Fried Felony
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2019

Venus Thibodeaux was nothing but trouble for Sinful. Then she left when she turned 18 and the town breathed relief. Then four years later she came back and caused all sorts of new trouble. Then she left again. Or at least everyone thought so until during the Thanksgiving Turkey Run her dead body is discovered. Fortune Redding is hired by the man at the top of the suspect list to find the real killer.
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16 Swamp Santa Swamp Santa
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2019

The Christmas season in alive and well in Sinful. At least up until someone murders the town's Santa. Fortune Redding was planning on staying out of this mess except the local gangsters in the area get worried they might have competition moving in on them and they hire Redding to find the killer, just in case.
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17 Bullets and Beads Bullets and Beads
Written by Jana DeLeon
Copyright: 2020

It's time for Mardi Gras. Fortune Redding was looking forward to it up until a woman visiting Sinful is murdered and Redding and Ida Belle and Gertie look into it which takes them to New Orleans where Redding spots her father and assassins spot her.
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MY COMMENTS

       Okay okay! This is not really a spy series, except of course it is!
       From the beginning we have illegal arms dealing and a mole in the CIA and lots of mayhem. Then we have the need for the operative to go undercover while the Agency rat is smoked out before the agent can go after the bad guy. That pretty good spy action drama right there.
       But then things go wonderfully sideways.
       Sinful, Louisiana is a small town but the things that go on there show clearly small town life can be murder! And who better to go into hiding in such a place as the most active killer the government has?
       But Fortune Redding, who tries to be ready for anything at any time, is not ready for Ida Belle, head of the Sinful Ladies Society, the real power in the community. And there is her best friend Gertie who drives like a maniac and who refuses to wear her glasses so maniac gets a double meaning. The three of them will become known as Sinful Team 3 and what a team!

       These are zany cozy mystery murders with buckets of humor tossed on them and the spy-work takes a backseat to the looney goings-on in Sinful. Up until it moves to the front and makes the craziness get even wilder.
       Oh, and one super strange thing is all the wild, outrageous events that slam into Fortune as she tries to 'lie-low' - they do not take place over time. They happen one immediately after another. We are not talking months and months here. Think days and weeks. No rest for the Sinful.
       
       I found myself reading the first couple of adventures and then heading to go to a "serious" spy series or two and then going back to Sinful for another escapade, leaving that community for another series or two and then coming back again. Rinse and repeat. I cannot get enough of Fortune, Ida Belle, Gertie, Ally, and even Deputy Carter.
       I hope Sinful Team 3 stay busy for a long time.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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