... Concert stage, dark except for a deep blue spotlight. Singer drops to one knee and his narration evolves from murmur to rant. "This is the story of a man who got what he wanted but he lost what he had. He got what he wanted but he lost what he had. He got –" ...
It goes on forever. It's mesmerizing. Uncomfortable. Confessional.
Pretty sure this memory is from the time I saw James Brown, decades ago, but the lost identity of the singer isn't the point.
I've spent my life gazing across some fence or other, admiring greener grass over yonder. I've acted on so many impulses to jump the fence. No complaints, but it has sure taken me a long time to appreciate where I'm standing right now. And nowadays that blue spotlight chant fills my head whenever I contemplate a new jump.
Sometimes I jump back.
I was a low–budget television producer until I wrote a psychological thriller, "Was It A Rat I Saw", which Bantam–Doubleday–Dell published in hardcover in 1992. Soon after that I became the mother of twins, jumped into graduate school, and became a disaster scientist. I dabbled in academia, government research, and consulting.
I stopped writing fiction for nearly two decades, until I noticed how much I missed it. I resumed writing novels with the literary fiction "Scar Jewelry" about a family with secrets that started in the era of Los Angeles punk and persist for decades; then began the speculative detective quartet FRAMES, with "Nica of Los Angeles" and "Nica of the New Yorks". Also in progress is a nine novella series, the young adult paranormal horror romance, "DDsE".
Funny. Back in the day, I had a single book idea at a time. Now I'm flooded with them, can't keep up with them, though I write just about every day.
I live in southern California. I had to leave for five years to confirm this is where I belong. I live with multiple cats, comfortably close to my twins and granddaughter. Like my life paths, my friends and family are all over the damn place. I like to visit them, spend time at the ocean, explore cities, and go out to hear live music.
on Dec. 26, 2016 :
Ok, so the time it took me to read this is not an indication of my disinterest or lack of engagement to the story, instead I ended up doing NaNoWriMo and a massive work project in between August and Dec.
That aside, Nica's tale certainly contained a lot of interesting and original ideas. The world building was fresh and the characters rather amusing.
I think my favourite characters were Miles and Monk, purely because of the intellectual way they spoke and sense of humour. I also found I developed a bit of a soft spot for Hernandez.
Where this story fell over for me was in a couple of ways. The length: at only 302 pages, the story felt densely packed and far, far longer than 302 pages.
The pace: the characters were rushing through from one thing to the next, and one frame to the next so fast it became a little too much and things started to blur. Perhaps a few less scene changes and story plot points would help alleviate the feeling of being rushed.
Nica's character and personality might irritate some readers. I found her mildly annoying at times, but amusing at others.
Some of the length could be clipped further with a heavy-handed editor, but the overall finish of the book was good.
One thing I noticed:
3% - blood-?-soaked (not sure why there's a question mark hyphenated between these two words).
*Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
N. N. Light
on Aug. 12, 2015 :
I have to admit, when I first started reading this book, I was totally confused. I didn’t have any background information and immediately was drawn into the mind of Nica. It was intense and yet that intensity is like a character all its own when reading this book. Original and I loved it!
Nica is a rookie private detective and even though she tried her best to not get involved, she’s drawn into three weird cases. Before Nica has a chance to blink twice, the world she knows falls away and the truth is revealed. The world is made up of Frames where anything is possible and Nica is called upon to help defeat the Big Bad.
Filled with twists, turns and so much action I hyperventilated, Nica of Los Angeles is an addictive read. Sue Perry did a superb job weaving the story with such description I became a part of the action. It reminded me of The Matrix on several levels and I can’t wait read the next installment.
If you love Urban Fantasy with dashes of film noir, you’ve got to read this book.
Favorite Character: Nica. I loved how open she is as a character. As the reader, we’re thrown into her head and let me tell you, it’s a trip. She’s gritty, honest, quirky and kicks ass. I love her as a heroine and I can’t wait to read more.
Looking at matters from many perspectives impedes progress. I rely on reflex and certainty to remain alive and protect the Frames.
My Rating: 4 stars
(reviewed 63 days after purchase)
on March 05, 2015 :
First off I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is not an easy book to review nor was it always an easy book to read. That sounds like a bad thing so let me first say that the book was excellent and I thoroughly recommend it. Having said that I did struggle with the first half of the book. Perry has created a very complex and complicated world however she explains it very simply and just asks us to take her word that this is how things are. The main character, Nica, does exactly that, accepting this bizarre paradigm shift in the way the world is without batting an eyelash. Actually I must be much more closed minded than Nica because it took me far longer than her to wrap my head around the events of the book. Once I did buy in to the world though wow what a world it was. Anything can happen and anything does happen. This book also had a lot of humor and Perry is very very clever with her writing which was a blast through out the book. All in all anyone who can should certainly pick up this book. It made me think and it made me feel which are great attributes in a book.
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
on Feb. 21, 2015 :
I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Sue!
Although I don't usually read books similar to Nica of Los Angeles, when I saw the synopsis, I was intrigued and decided to enter the giveaway for a copy. I didn't win, but was approached by the author and offered a copy, which I am glad I accepted, because I did enjoy reading it.
There are many reviews already available that give some sort of synopsis of the story itself, so I am going to try not to repeat too much of that. I will start by saying that, when I first read about the Frames themselves, and how Nica was allowed to travel between Frames (some of them other realities of the Los Angeles Nica is from), I was reminded of the t.v. show "Sliders" - but only briefly.
Nica is, herself, an unusual character. I found it interesting that her last name was a sort of acronym (but I won't spoil why for those who haven't read the story). She is earthy, and a bit flighty, with her own sense of humor.
I enjoyed the use of sentient buildings, vehicles and other objects as some of the very unique characters in this book. The army of flying books also took the idiom "the pen is mightier than the sword" in another direction. And cats "have only their own side", along with the ability to shift Frames themselves.
In all, this was a fun story once I worked my way into it and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure with a bit of mystery and bad guys you just can't help but mistrust.
(reviewed 19 days after purchase)
on Feb. 02, 2015 :
I received a free eBook from the author for an honest review. I like the book. This was my first book in the mystery fantasy genre. I didn't think I would like a fantasy book, but this one was great.
Nica is a new PI, so new she doesn't have her license yet. In one day she gets three cases. One missing girl, one missing gym bag, and fantasy case. She gets to time travel, that just one of things that happens. So you are between real things that happen and dealing with hard to believe things. But this book holds your attention. I also like that it takes place in Los Angeles, and places where I have lived. I like reading books that take place in states where I have lived or visited. Looking forward to the next books to see what happens to Nica next.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on Dec. 24, 2014 :
Ever give points just for its uniqueness? I knew I would from almost the first page of Nica of Los Angeles. In fact, that uniqueness nearly had me closing the book and moving on. What a loss that would have been! Instead, I substituted Frames with the thought of other dimensions. I could hear one of the scientists on the Science Channel talking about how another dimension would be as close as a breath away from us. Plopping that bit of science into my understanding of the story helped me believe.
Once one can embrace the unbelievability of this story, it becomes quite exciting. The characters are well developed and likable. Even Watts Towers. It is fun to visit familiar parts of LA the one in this reality and what it might be like in other dimensions.
It has been a couple days since I finished the story. I haven't known exactly what to say about it and I have been trying to figure that out since I started reading it. By the way, I received the free version of the book from the author for an honest review. But I bought the $.99 at Amazon so I could read it from any of my readers. As I have stated above, I loved the story and the characters.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)
on Nov. 03, 2014 :
A unique storyline and a strong 3.5 rating, the novel opens up with Nica, hoping her new job as an investigator will be more interesting than her previous jobs. She has no idea how interesting it’s about to get when an other-worldly pair of clients walk into her office. What starts out as a detective mystery / thriller takes a right turn at the Twilight Zone, providing an unpredictable plot and a crazy set of characters. At times, I was reminded of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or Alice in Wonderland, in the sense of the bizarreness of some of the scenes.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed 32 days after purchase)
on Oct. 08, 2014 :
Full disclosure: The author provided this book for an honest review, and that's what this is.
This is a fantastic book. The characters are interesting, the dialog witty and the story straddles the line between strange and believable perfectly. If Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams got together to write a Raymond Chandler-style private eye story, this is what would come out.
I anxiously await the next installment.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
on Sep. 09, 2014 :
In short, I loved everything about this book.
In longer, I loved that Nica is easy to relate to, funny, smart and utterly human. She reacted to her sudden immersion into the epic battle between good and evil with the entire universe (as we know it, and as we don't) on the line in a way that was completely believable. One of the reasons this book was so easy to read was that Nica and the other characters behaved in ways that just made sense. I love stories that are crafted so that I can imagine myself in the situations, and have the events unfold like they would if I were really there. Reading experiences like that are rare, and Sue Perry masterfully created just such an experience with this book. Book 2 cannot be finished soon enough for me!
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)