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   Blood in My Hairspray

Blood in My Hairspray
by Steven Schreibman

Category: Fiction / Mystery
288 pages; ISBN: 1403326169

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Kathryn Lively


Damian Shtup owns and operates the most faaabulous hair salon in the City, catering in particular to the wives of "respected legitmate businessmen" - women who enjoy having their hair teased and touched-up as much as they enjoy the banter between stylists. Damian's follicle-enhanced creations are enough to leave the ladies of the B-52's fuming with envy, though as Damian narrates in Blood in My Hairspray, not everyone is pleased.

The usual crowd at the Shtup Stop is horrified when a regular customer drops dead in the salon for no apparent reason; Damian, while shocked, seems to be more distraught over the bloodstains on his pristine floor, but that's to be expected in the Damian-centric universe, where his word is law and where some people aren't even allowed to lose their ethnicity (just ask the Girl from Canada). The event is nearly pushed out of the stylist's mind until a chance encounter with a tainted can of hairspray leaves Damian seeing red, literally. Suddenly Damian's attitiude towards expiring customers is not so pithy anymore, not when the possibility of murder looms among his name-brand line of hair care products. Not when there is the possibility that he, too, is a target. Not when there is the possibility of making time with the hunky officer assigned to his case.

Blood in My Hairspray reads as a hybrid thriller/memoir - though heavier on the humor than the thriller - as narrated by hair care king (or rather queen?) Shtup. Actually, "narrated" is too mild a term to apply here; Shtup assaults the readers with full force. He doesn't just chew the scenery, he thrusts it into a blender set to liquify and serves it to everyone as smoothies. Hairspray is his story from beginning to end, told as only he can tell it; should the story stray a bit into a pained soliloquy about the trials of running a salon or a dreaded visit from the parental units, then so what? Shtup's energy is infectious, and one has to wonder if author Schreibman had difficulty at times keeping the character corralled. In this case, however, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Let's hope Shtup's salon chairs have seatbelts, Hairspray is a wild ride.


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