I read this as a copy that I'd been sent to review.
I'd have to admit that when I read the first chapter, I wasn't too impressed. Competently written, but something that had been done before and better. I was thinking of writing back to the author suggesting that she really needed to come up with some angle that would grab the reader. Something novel, something I hadn’t seen before. Then I read chapter two and realised that she’d more than beaten me to that punch. The first chapter was a knock off of a Raymond Chandler type private detective, but not PV Tkach’s. Her character is Persephone and the detective, Jersey, is Persephone’s. She’s writing the characters that just appeared in her head and, while she’s an ok writer and gets much better during the course of this book, she isn’t going to win any prizes.
PV Tkach, however, has a huge range and could probably write the scotch out of the hand of Chandler. Chapter two didn’t just give me a clue that this was a more interesting piece of writing than I thought, it grabbed me, wrung me out and made sure I wouldn’t stop reading until I’d found out what was happening here.
Chapter three took me back to Jersey and his secretary Pearl. By now, however, I was fascinated to see not only how their story was going, but how it reflected what was happening in Persephone’s life. It just got better and better. I got involved with Persephone, really felt for her, her kids and her conflict with her ex-husband and I got involved with Jersey and Pearl, really wanting them to solve this case and pay the rent.
This is a remarkable story in its own right, but also a revealing look at the writing process and how the author reacts with their own work. It becomes a vehicle for Persephone’s own liberation as solutions to her problems start to boil out of the invention of Jersey’s world.
I can’t recommend this highly enough. It’s a starling cross-genre piece whose separate parts do so much more than just complement each other. I wouldn’t normally read this kind of women’s fiction, though I have read a lot of Chandler. After finishing it, I’m still not sure that I’d read so much women’s fiction, though I will if Tkach writes it.
(reviewed the day of purchase)