Review by Melody Scott
Wake Up and Smell the Corpse
by Colleen Ryan

If you're looking for a book of rollicking humor set in Pennsylvania, complete with whacked out small town characters, then try Wake Up and Smell the Corpse by Colleen Ryan, ISBN# 978-0-9802271-0-9

The relationship between protagonists Maddy and Chloe has the irreverence that only lifetime friends can have, complete with long memories of kindergarten days through teenage years into free spirited adulthood.

Blackmail-by-telling-mother is raised to a true art form as two friends enter a cafe adventure when they open eclectica, inc.  In an ancient building that would never meet health department standards, antics of the murder kind tend to occur as they serve coffee to the town locals.

For no apparent reason, a colorfully irritating ditz is found buried in the shop basement.  When Maddy dares to creep the home of the deceased's lovelorn husband she finds him in delicate attire, and the mystery begins to develop.

More bodies and manikin parts begin to arrive at their establishment, and the cops who all attended school with the women have no doubt these two could have no reason to be perpetuating one murder after the next.  B ut the new guy investigator has no such background and is suspicious of their penchant for finding dead people.  He tends to become furious with their disregard of logical life progression and targets them as the only suspects available.

It's a love-hate relationship, at least on Maddy's side, as she pictures officer Comunale as the local Adonis.  After all, she knows that she and Choloe aren't murderers, so why can't he figure it out?  He can't figure it out because these two left over teeny boppers continue to steal chairs when life gets boring, drink at the neighboring bar at every chance, and regard all men as abuseable brothers.

With a plethora of whacky characters (in excess of 28), most of whom have been given nicknames such as Thorazine John and Mayor Gasbag, Wake Up and Smell the Corpse becomes a frolic of immense proportions, taking on the earmarks of ADHD mania on speed.  With every known blue word scattered like Italian spices throughout, I'd say grandma doesn't need a copy, but then there are all those teenagers looking for a lark ...

Colleen Ryan's career field has been as the Coordinator of Community Education at Westmoreland County Community College in Westmoreland, Pennsyvania.  Today she is an adjunct professor at WCCC teaching writing and literature.  She took her Master's Degree in writing popular fiction from Seaton Hill University.