Monarch

Adult
Rated 4.00/5 based on 1 review
Claire Lance once had a knack for finding trouble while on the run from the law. Now, years after settling down, trouble has found her. More
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About Geonn Cannon

Geonn Cannon was born in a barn and raised to know better than that. He was born and raised in Oklahoma where he’s been enslaved by a series of cats, dogs, two birds and one unexpected turtle. He’s spent his entire life creating stories but only became serious about it when he realized it was a talent that could impress girls. Learning to write well was easier than learning to juggle, so a career was underway. His high school years were spent writing stories among a small group of friends and reading whatever books he could get his hands on.

Geonn was inspired to create the fictional Squire’s Isle after a 2004 trip to San Juan Island in Washington State. His first novel set on the island, On the Air, was written almost as a side project to another story he wanted to tell. Reception to the story was so strong that the original story was put on the back burner to deal with the world created in On the Air. His second novel set in the same universe, Gemini, was also very well received and went on to win the Golden Crown Literary Society Award for Best Novel, Dramatic/General Fiction. Geonn was the first male author to receive the honor.

While some of his novels haven’t focused as heavily on Squire’s Isle, the vast majority of Geonn’s works take place in the same universe and have connections back to the island and its cast of characters (the exception being the Riley Parra series). In addition to writing more novels based on the inhabitants of Squire’s Isle, Geonn hopes to one day move to the real-life equivalent to inspire further stories.

Geonn is currently working on a tie-in novel to the television series Stargate SG-1, and a script for a webseries version of Riley Parra.

Learn more about Geonn Cannon

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Reviews of Monarch by Geonn Cannon

Talaith Gladvert reviewed on May 3, 2021

So, the sixth book in the Claire Lance series after a hiatus of seven years. As anyone who's read volume five will know, Claire and Jodie retired to Squire's Isle after her exoneration and this book is set there.

For those who have only read Geonn Cannon's Claire Lance books and haven't read his Squire's Isle stories, Squire's Isle was first featured in a book back in 2006, called On the Air, in which the protagonist gets accidentally outed and has to deal with the fallout from that. I went back over it before writing this review and was surprised at how grim a story it was (though it has a happy ending.) Geonn then wrote many stories set in Squire's Isle (which can be bought from Smashwords in collected volumes), all of which have a happy, feel-good atmosphere as the island metamorphises into a "Lesbian Paradise" (something the author calls attention to more than once). Claire and Jodie aren't the first of his characters to retire there, and we meet a couple of the others in this book.

I mention this because I found something of a tonal clash. The Claire Lance stories are all very dark, crime-ridden, angst filled books and this one is no exception. Yet it happens on Squire's Isle, a happy, feel-good sort of place, and this was, at first, disconcerting. I'll come back to this.

Anyway, Claire and Jodie's idyllic retirement is disrupted when the Sheriff - Claire's boss - uncovers evidence of the activities of an OCG at work on the island. From then, the story develops as usual, Claire working to uncover and disrupt the activities of the OCG whilst they, in turn, strike at her and the people around her. And this is where I felt the tonal clash. For example, Claire informs the mayor that an OCG is working on the island, as any sheriff would - but the mayor is Patricia Hood-Colby, who we know from many Squire's Isle stories, as we also know her wife and children, who we also meet.

At first this seems wrong - what are the Hood-Colbys doing in a story this dark? - but I got it eventually when, at one point, the mayor expresses frustration and disgust at the thought of the activities of the OCG on her island - and it clicked then. All the other Lance stories have involved similar activities by OCGs in similar towns - but this time it was in a town we know, the people of which are well developed and well-known to us (if we've read the stories that is). The mayor's sense of disgust is all the more palpable because we share it , to some extent - this is our island too.

And so the story had an added resonance and also chimed in with Lance's thoughts - that, this time, she's fighting to defend her home and people she knows and cares about, rather than strangers.

So, yes, it was a good book. I'm kind of hoping that it'll be the last one, though. I mean, I'm not averse to seeing Claire and Jodie in the odd Squire's Isle story, maybe even as the subject of a few. But if there are more Claire Lance books set on the island, it runs the risk of making Squire's Isle into a place like Midsomer, Adensfield, Brokenwood or Wildemarsh - small, sleepy little towns with a crime/murder rate higher than Los Angeles.

Besides, it'd be nice to think that Claire and Jodie retired to a happy, feel-good place like Squire's Isle, where the worst Claire has to deal with is the occasional shoplifter or RTA. They've earned it.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
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