Rene Gutteridge, Author . WaterBrook $12.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-
This humorous novel from Gutteridge kicks off her new series, the Occupational Hazards, featuring seven siblings in a clown family that disbands when the parents die in a freak accident. Twenty-five-year-old Hayden Hazard sheds her protected, homeschooled life to strike out on her own as assistant to Channel 7 news producer Hugo Talley. Her innocence, simple faith and good looks attract the attention of reporter Ray Duffey and egomaniacal weatherman Sam Leege. But trouble is brewing: an aging newscaster has overdone the Botox, giving her a permanent happy face while announcing the most terrible tragedies, and Ray is assaulted on the air while doing a story on pig zoning. An explosion at the waste-water treatment plant seems simple, but Ray discovers something stinks more than sewage or the pigs. Hugo pops blue pills for his stress, but even his medicated calm can't quell the looming disaster. As she did in her Boo series, Gutteridge clearly has fun with her story; the pages brim with quirky characters and plenty of laughs. Hayden's crusade against Hugo's antianxiety meds are the only questionable note in the book; readers may see it as a faith versus prescription antidepressants message. Drugs aside, this is a rollicking evangelical ride through the television news world, reminding readers why Gutteridge is such a delightful read.
Reviewed on: 08/14/2006