Another reminder-- I have challenged myself to focus on debut authors in 2011.
And now for our regularly scheduled program. Kinda.
Writing is a funny business. Generally in say...everything else I've ever been involved with-- noobie hacks get to hang out with other noobie hacks-- successful people are too busy being ...well...successful to muck about with the likes of me. Writing is a whole different world. I go to the bookstore and I see my friends books. Friends. People who tell me my hair is cute and pick me up off the floor when I am railing at the subjectivity of this awful/wonderful business – Not just people I stalk on Twitter ( though there are people I just stalk on Twitter-- Richard Kadrey, I'm looking at you. One day you will follow me. One day....)
But I digress. So when one of those friends says “Here, read my book. It doesn't come out till February.” (o-0 I can haz ARCs???) I go snatchity snatch, minemine mine mine!
And then the dread sets in.
Cuz see, this is my friend. And I haven't read a a mystery since I was 12 reading John D MacDonald novels*. The only thing I remember about them was that he has a houseboat. And a waterbed. And he was always having sex with dames in distress. And there were colors in the title. What if I don't like mysteries anymore? What if I can't think of anything nice to say? What if no one has sex?
BOB Blurb--Giulia Falcone is going straight to hell. First, because she left the convent. Second, her new job with a private investigator has her sneaking around and lying. Adjusting to life outside the habit isn’t easy. Make-up, dating, and sex are all new to her. And despite a crush on her boss Frank Driscoll—a foul-mouthed, soft-hearted ex-cop—Giulia is sure he’d never fall for an ex-nun.
Her first case involves drop-dead handsome Blake Parker, a man with immense wealth and an ego to match. He and his fiancée are getting disturbing “gifts” with messages based on Bible verses. When Guilia is drawn into the stalker’s sights, salacious photos appear, threatening her job and her friendship with Frank. No one imagines—least of all naïve Guilia—the danger ahead, when a date with an online gamer turns into a fight for her life.
Is it funny that in my head I want to compare Guilia Falcone to James Stark? (Okay, okay-- I know what you're thinking-- but I promise, I only sent RK half naked pics on Twitter- I'm not a stalker...yet) No-- seriously. Stark spends 11 years in hell so he comes out 30 in body, but not exactly in mind. Dear Guilia spends about the span of time in a convent--which is described as a fairly hellish experience-- and comes out 29 in body but not in mind or experience. She spends a lot of the book playing catch up(with the help of a girlfriend and Cosmo magazine) while wrestling with the demons of insecurity both in the arena of her place as a woman in the world and her place as a divorced bride of God.
The characters are well drawn. I understand Guilia. There was a point when I was actually muttering at the book- “Cock punch him, Guilia. The self righteous prig deserves it.”- and when ever I get that invested, I know the author has done a good job. I know it is completely out of fashion, but I did wish that there had been some chapters from the Bad Guy's POV. At the end it seems a little out of left field and though all the threads come together, the reader is left with a- “How the hell could anyone have figured that out?” feeling.
This is the first in a planned series-- so there is a bit of the “These are the characters who will be in our world”, but not overly so and they don't walk in and say “Hi” just to establish themselves. Everyone has a role and they play it.
The RPG part of the storyline feels a little weird, but only because of one detail. The guy who asks her out... the "date with an online gamer turns into a fight for her life.” He's buff, a gamer, and an orchestral musician. MMMM... In my experience, gamer comes in the buff variety or the geek type. You don't get buff/geek gamer-- only the lead singer of the Hong Kong Caviliers managed to be a super-genius rockstar. (Bonus points and mad geek cred to anyone who gets that reference)
Soooo.... though there are no vamps or weres or demons-- wait there are some ogres ( RPG types) and the only sex to be had is the violent-not-sexy kind-- I still recommend this book. And not just because she's my friend. This debut novel is well worth a read, and I think the series will only get better.
*I lie. I read the "girl with the tattoo" book. I skipped the first 150 pages then blocked the rest of it out of my memory. I know lots of people liked it. I did not.
OH -- Next Thursday there will be an interview with the lovely Alice Loweecey-- So come back and enjoy my silliness-- Oh, and between now and then I'll post my Adventures with People o' the cloth...cuz
Me + Monastic Types = yeah, you can guess!