A Few Trivial Felonies by Sandra Sperling

A Few Trivial Felonies: How many will these ladies commit? by Sandra Sperling.

Rachel suffers burnout from her job as a counselor. When Nick, her husband, is forced to take early retirement due to health issues, she’s delighted to quit her job and move from Minnesota to coastal Oregon. Even with Nick’s reduced pension, they have enough to live on without her returning to work.

Rachel becomes friends with Ruth, her next-door-neighbor, whose much older husband is also retired. They both yearn for ocean views, which they would have if only a few trees on the wooded acreage to the west of them were cut down. So, with an old lumberman’s saw, an ax and a chainsaw, they do just that, carefully concealing the evidence of the logging venture, their first crime.

It would likely have been their last, but Nick’s health takes a turn for the worse, and he passes away, which will bring an end to the pension income. Although Rachel has an excellent resume, there are no job openings in the area, so she’ll have to sell out and move. Neither she nor Ruth want that, but they need some extra cash. Organized crime, with its kidnapping, murder and drug dealing, falls beneath their somewhat twisted ethical standards.

They choose, instead, to become free-lance criminals and commit only a few trivial felonies.

Review by Susan S.-VINE VOICE: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A Poignant Fictionalized World Full of Surprises! Reviewed in the United States on August 26, 2023. Verified Purchase. Every time I finish one of Sandra Sperling’s novels, I proclaim that I’ve just read my favorite one. Seriously, if you haven’t read one of her books, now is the time. She’s one of the wittiest storytellers out there. The humor in these pages, especially as the plot unfolds, becomes laugh-out-loud funny. There’s a certain gallows humor that I’ve always appreciated in Sandra’s writing. Her characterizations are brilliant, and her storylines—despite the crazy capers of some of the characters (particularly the female ones)—are incredibly credible and relatable.

Rachel and Ruth, neighbors in a small town off the coast of Oregon, bond over their roots in Minnesota. While the men in their lives are certainly nice enough, neither are the pictures of robust health; both women are unfulfilled and long for something more. Rachel has retired at the age of forty-one from a career as a child-welfare counselor. Her burnout soon gives way to boredom, following her move. Then there’s Ben, an attractive English teacher, who rents a cottage from Rachel and her husband. He’s married, but his wife is in a coma.

The plot thickens, but not in a predictable way. It isn’t long before Ruth and Rachel’s worlds are turned upside down—and boredom is barely remembered. Ruth become Rachel’s life coach—of sorts—and teaches her how to make ends meet after Rachel suffers a significant loss.

Like many of Sperling’s other female characters, Ruth and Rachel are smart and resourceful. They become even more so when they turn to each other for help. While the female characters sometimes come close to being super-heroes, there’s one who’s far from it. Vivian, a neighbor of Ruth and Rachel, lives in a trailer with her teenage son. She dyes her hair ‘rhubarb red’ and goes on a man-hunt like no other. Also, she envies the two other women because they have men in their lives. Ruth and Rachel try their best to keep her at more than arm’s length, though ultimately they see—despite their differences—that they share a common bond: they’re all just trying to survive. As Rachel proclaims to Ruth at one point: “A woman’s got to do, what a woman’s got to do.”

Sandra Sperling is as wise as she is witty. Her fictionalized world is both poignant and full of surprises. High praise for all her books, and especially this prize winning one!

Review by MK Alexander: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Delightful, Delicious, and Devilish. Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2020. Verified Purchase. Meet Minnesota Nice: Rachel and Ruth… they could be sisters, but best friends will do when they meet each other in a quiet little tourist town called Crusty Beach. Nestled somewhere along the Oregon coast, these two protagonists live a sort of early retirement. Husbands? Well, in a way— they are not much more than plot devices— something I found quite refreshing.

Also meet Vivian who lives in the trailer across the street. Not nice and not from Minnesota. She’s a struggling single-mom, blatantly criminal, and single-minded: survival at any cost. A dark reflection for Rachel and Ruth.

Life goes on and is seemingly mundane: shopping, cooking, cleaning and redecorating— all wonderfully described by author Sandra Sperling with wit, wisdom and humor; a lot of humor that’s subtle and satisfying— and not snarky in the least.

And then the law must be bent, slightly. Needless to say things escalate when their only goal becomes survival. Soon enough felonies abound and the reader is doubtless rooting their every move. Often hilarious, I enjoyed this book immensely. Breezy prose, good dialog, and excellent characters. I strongly recommend it!

Review by Oleander Whisper: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Felonious Preponderances and Shameless Kleptomaniacs. Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2021. Verified Purchase. Inedible wieners, mobile homes, verminous-looking couches, and questionable garage sales fill these pages with all sorts of unexpected scenes. Vivian’s short list of eligible men keeps dwindling by the day, and several of her actions prove what suffocating desperation can drive some people to eventually do. Driftwood carvings of the Virgin Mary turn out to be funnier than they sound, and pruning trees with firearms can be broadly described as “property enhancement techniques” by these strong Minnesota women.

I did encounter just a few scattered typographical errors, but this book flows smoothly with a constant air of levity. The overlapping storylines cleverly highlight the humor that often exists in the mundane monotony of life. The expenses of unforeseen dental work, frustrations over stolen lettuce, and predicted values of refinished furniture pieces seem somewhat tame compared to covert corpse dumps and “the inflatable man” of the manor! I recommend this comical read to mature audiences who enjoy plots destined to find a way to test what’s morally acceptable.

Review by Mary Schmidt: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Trivial Felonies. Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2020. Verified Purchase. Trivial felonies aside, this book was funny as all get out with the right amount of real life levity thrown in for good measure. The twist at the end took me by surprise. Five stars.

Review by J.G. MacLeod – Author of The Future Bride: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Witty, fast-paced, and entertaining! Reviewed in the United States on July 21, 2021. I think comedy is truly underrated. It’s a difficult genre to write, but when it is successful, it provides a needed escape from day-to-day stresses. I appreciate Sandra Sperling’s ability to make me laugh throughout this story.

I found the characters relatable. The premise was also realistic. Many of us live check-to-check, or don’t have savings to lean on when things suddenly take a turn for the worse. This sets up the foundation for the comedy: the fact that I empathized with the characters and have been in tight situations myself. Not that I have done anything like the people in the book, but it helps that I understand their survival instincts.

The story reminded me of the highly-successful Netflix series, Good Girls, but this book had completely different motivations and crimes. I mention this to point out that dark humor, strong female characters, and the bonds of ‘sisterhood’, lend themselves to themes that make for a compelling novel. Sperling has crafted just that.

I found the pace quick, and the dialogue witty. I highly recommend this entertaining read. You won’t be disappointed!

Product Details:
Paperback: ‎292 Pages
Publisher: ‎Sandra M. Sperling (April 23, 2020)
Language: ‎English
Humor and Satire

Amazon Print:


Customer Ratings:

About The Author: Sandra Sperling was born in Nevada and began her creative life in Minnesota, where, as a child, she wrote a play and a short story.

Eventually, she attempted a horror novel, but it didn’t horrify. Her mother, while reading the manuscript, began to laugh helplessly and leaned against a door for support, sliding to the floor like a piece of cooked spaghetti.

Deciding she was a failure as a writer, Sandy switched to painting dry-brush watercolors. The pull to write, however, was too strong to resist, so while still in Minnesota, she again began to write, publishing some short stories and advancing to novels.

She currently lives in Kentucky with her husband, she enjoys taking nature walks, refinishing old furniture and reading.

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