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Books: Adults

A Bad Day for Sorry

A Bad Day for Sorry

First Stella Hardesty Novel


"In an age of 'me too' books, Littlefield delivers a true original in Stella."
   —Edgar®-nominated author Craig McDonald

Stella Hardesty dispatched her abusive husband with a wrench shortly before her fiftieth birthday. A few years later, she's so busy delivering home-style justice, helping other women deal with their own abusive husbands and boyfriends, that she's barely got time to run her sewing shop. Since Stella works outside of the law, she's free to do whatever it takes to be convincing—as long as she keeps her distance from the handsome devil of a local sheriff, Goat Jones.

When young mother Chrissy Shaw asks Stella for help with her no-good, husband Roy Dean, it looks like just another standard job. But then Chrissy's two-year-old son is taken, and Stella finds herself up against a much more formidable enemy.

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Nominated for:

  • The Edgar® Award for Best First Novel
  • The Anthony Award for Best First Novel
  • The Macavity Award for Best First Mystery
  • The Barry Award for Best First Novel
  • The RTBookReviews Reviewers' Choice Award
  • The Crimespree Award for Favorite First Book

"Crime fiction hasn't seen a character as scrappy, mean, and incredibly appealing as Stella in a long time. A-"
   —Entertainment Weekly

"Littlefield's amusing, sassy debut introduces Stella Hardesty... Spunky, unapologetically middle-aged and a tad cantankerous, Stella barges bravely and often unwisely into danger."
   —Publishers Weekly

"In her debut novel, Sophie Littlefield shows considerable skills for delving into the depths of her characters and complex plotting as she disarms the reader...Littlefield keeps the plot churning with realistic action that doesn't let up...Littlefield's exciting debut should be the start of an even more exciting series."
   —Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun Sentinel

"First-timer Littlefield creates characters with just the right quirks who charm..."
   —Kirkus Reviews

"Ass-whuppin' 50-year-old Stella is nothing if not inventive, from using high-quality sexual restraints on abusers to going toe to toe with some very bad Mafia types; she's ably backed up by Goat, a divorcee who sends Stella sexual vibes and winks at her vigilantism. Littlefield puts a new spin on middle-age sleuths in this rollicking, rip-roaring debut."

"Violent, compassionate, and laugh-out-loud funny, this first novel is utterly unique, a can't-put-it-downer narrated in a brilliant, bristly voice."
   —Mystery Scene Magazine

"Expect the unexpected with Stella Hardesty, who's quite the intriguing character. She's 5-foot-6, overweight and out of shape. Since her 50th birthday has come and gone, menopause has kicked in as well, which doesn't help matters any. From Stella's opening remark, "Whuppin' ass wasn't so hard. What was hard was making sure it stay whupped," the reader can't help but be drawn into her world and wonder where it will all lead." 4 stars!
   —Romantic Times

"The story's compelling, the dialogue perfect—and Stella is one of the most memorable characters of this summer or any other."
   —Jay Strafford, the Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Stella takes tough and ornery to new abundance of violence is leavened with humor and heart in this debut novel."
   —Hallie Ephron, Boston Globe

"In some Valhalla where fictional characters brush shoulders—down some dirt road and up a hollow there—Sophie Littlefield's Stella Hardesty has bent elbows with James Crumley's guys. She's a nodding acquaintance with Daniel Woodrell's Dollys and Shades. We're talking hard-boiled country. In an age of 'me too' books, Littlefield delivers a true original in Stella: an aging, tough-as-nails widower, part-time parole officer and earthy equalizer. Rich in atmosphere, fast on the draw and informed by a sly, knowing and crackling narrative voice that wraps a chummy arm around your shoulder, leans in close and tells you just how it is, A Bad Day For Sorry is the start of something fresh and special. This accomplished and assured debut heralds the arrival of a fearless new talent who promises to push crime and mystery fiction into exciting, uncharted territory."
   —Craig McDonald, Edgar®-nominated author of Head Games

"A Bad Day For Sorry is an absolute knockout: dark, funny, smart, poignant and just plain outright damn exquisitely, stunningly, heartbreakingly, awesomely excellent. This is a debut you'll be tempted to buy extra copies of just so you can press them into the lucky hands of passing strangers and spread the joy. I challenge any crime writer alive today to read even the first page alone and not break down, weeping with envy. Littlefield ROCKS."
   —Cornelia Read, Edgar®-nominated author of The Crazy School

"A Bad Day For Sorry is the perfect book for anyone who's ever been hurt and who wished they could pay it back as good as they got and then some. Stella Hardesty—widow, mother, sewing shop owner, and killer—is the answer to your prayers.
Sophie Littlefield romps onto the crime fiction scene with a character so memorable - and so desperately needed - that I don't know how we managed without her before. A tour de force debut. Raise a glass of Johnny Walker Black to Stella Hardesty and her creator, Sophie Littlefield; the new tough broads in town."
   —Louise Ure, Shamus Award winning author of The Fault Tree and Liars Anonymous

"Littlefield has a unique voice that will stay in your head long after you've finished this treasure of a book. Passionate, smart and very funny."
   —Tim Maleeny, award-winning author of Stealing The Dragon

"In A Bad Day For Sorry, Sophie Littlefield offers up a winning heroine in Stella Hardesty, self-appointed defender of the abused and downtrodden women in her little corner of Missouri. Once a victim of abuse who remade her life in a single decisive moment, Stella combines all the best of a hardboiled shamus and your favorite aunt, as comfortable with a handgun as she is hand-stitching. Both her grit and her wit grow out of her honestly-earned grief. Littlefield has written a raw and honest book full of passion and pathos, with a dash of wry humor and a thread of potent redemption. A Bad Day For Sorry is a book I couldn't put down from a brash, exciting new voice in crime fiction."
   —Bill Cameron, author of Chasing Smoke

"Sophie Littlefield has more stick than a cockleburr, as one of her characters might say (and does). Reading A Bad Day For Sorry, I felt like I'd just awakened from a fever dream in which Sophie Tucker was reading Deliverance aloud at gunpoint to a snarling pack of redneck drunks at an anger management class—or a cockfight—with the TV playing Survivor: Ozark Showdown in the background.
Sophie—Littlefield, not Tucker—presents as sharply drawn and memorable a cast of characters as you will find outside Hannibal—Missouri, not Lecter. Her sense for backwater patois and the day-to-day life that animates it is spot on. This woman knows of what she writes—which is a little frightening, actually. Oh, and she's funny. Very.
Pick up this book and enjoy the sweet f***ing irony, as one of her characters might say (and does)."
   —David Corbett, Edgar®-nominated author of Blood of Paradise

"In her debut novel, author Sophie Littlefield strikes a deep chord with protagonist Stella Hardesty, a fifty-something, tough-talking, hard drinking, former abused wife, who dishes out her unique brand of justice with no regrets and no excuses. A Bad Day For Sorry is a wild ride that is funny and frightening, touching and tragic, all at the same time."
   —Sue Ann Jaffarian, author of the Odelia Grey mystery series and The Granny Apples mystery series

"I want more of the fifty-year-old Stella. She's my kind of woman."
   —Andrea Sisco, Armchair Interviews

"I'm anxiously waiting the sequel."
   —Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine

"The two things I absolutely love about Stella is that she has a mouth like a truck driver's and she takes no bullshit from anyone...A Bad Day for Sorry is a one-sit read. I couldn't read this book fast enough...Now if only I didn't have to wait so long for her next novel."
   —Cheryl's Book Nook

"This is an enjoyable jocular frolic as middle aged Stella takes on the world with no looking back as to whom she runs over when she does. A BAD DAY FOR SORRY is a good day or three for readers."
   —Harriet Klausner, GenreGoRound Reviews

"If you want to read about one of the most original characters in crime fiction, a fifty-year-old woman, a redneck with a heart of gold, who survived her own abusive marriage only to become a champion for other abused women, a caring mother and neighbor, then you need to pick up A Bad Day for Sorry, a thought-provoking story, with humor and warmth. You won't be sorry you gave Sophie Littlefield's debut a day in your life."
   —Lesa Holstine, Lesa's Book Critiques

"[One] of the year's best debuts...fresh and sassy and an awful lot of fun."
   —David J. Montgomery, Chicago Sun-Times

Minotaur Books, Hardcover, August 2009, ISBN: 9780312559205
Minotaur Books, Trade Paperback, May 2010, ISBN: 9780312643232
Macmillan Audio, Unabridged Audiobook, August 2011, ISBN: 9781427215642