By Steph Cha Editions: ebook, hardcover Expected publication: April 16th 2013 by Minotaur Books Genre: NA Contemporary / Mystery / Thriller Source: NetGalley
Juniper Song knows secrets–how to keep them and how to search them out. As a girl, noir fiction was her favorite escape, and Philip Marlowe has always been her literary idol. So when her friend Luke asks her to investigate a possible affair between his father and a young employee, Juniper (or “Song” as her friends call her) finds an opportunity to play detective. Driving through L.A.’s side streets, following leads, tailing suspects-it all appeals to Song’s romantic ideal of the noir hero. But when she’s knocked out while investigating a mysterious car and finds a body in her own trunk, Song lurches back to the real L.A., becoming embroiled in a crime that goes far beyond role play. What’s more, this isn’t the first time Song has stuck her nose in other people’s business. As she fights to discover the truth about her friend’s family, Song reveals one of her own deeply hidden secrets, something dark and damaging, urging her to see the current mystery through, to rectify the mistakes of her past life.
Bomy’s Flutter: strikingly gorgeous
Yes, you saw that right. This is 2013’s first Bomy Award of Excellence and I’m thoroughly delighted to say so. This is one of the first books I’ve read this year and if my first reads are any indication, 2013 will be a freaking amazing bookish year. But enough about my fangirling, let’s get back to the book.
A contemporary mystery, noir and thrilling through and through, the novel features one of the most charismatic main characters I’ve read in a while. Juniper Song was that kind of quirky, smart and independent character that I can’t help but love. She rang true from the first line and her emotions ran deep and turbulent in places while her mind ran speed-of-light fast pretty much always. She had a memorable voice and I have no doubt she’ll remain with me for a long while. I can safely say that she fell into the category of tortured characters that I always so love, and the way she handled herself and her past, the way she handled things as they happened was just beautiful.
I was intrigued by other characters too, Diego and Luke for instance – especially Luke as the read progressed, in fact Luke’s entire family. If you like to dig deeper into the veneer of wealthy families, and I do, the colors of reality in this novel will run from disturbing to shocking. Through the characters of this novel we get a deeply startling zoom into human nature at its ugliest, thus most sincere. The courage of that view, the poetic beauty of how it’s presented and the delicate themes of traditional family and ‘yellow fever’ bravely tackled in the novel make this a stunning read. Simply stunning.
It’s hard for me to say if I loved the characters more then I did the writing, and it’s rare that I find myself in such a position. The stark contrast between facts presented and the beauty of how it was all brought to life made a lasting impression on me. Pages seemed to fly on their own and the story became a movie inside my head from page one, beautiful flow of action and Song’s charm had me hopelessly hooked. The rhythm of the read kept accelerating and things got super intense by the end. Man, that end. I mean, I was so wrapped up in the story that I just got dumbstruck when we reached the end. I can’t tell you how much I loved that ending.
You know how many books feel the need the tie everything up in a nice little bow and end on notes of everlasting joy? This is not one of them. The broken don’t get fixed, the ugly doesn’t get beautified and the hurt doesn’t magically heal. This is not a novel that will make you smile, but think and feel deeper then that. It requires a good amount of courage on your part, I dare say. It demands it, in fact. And it’s most likely going to stay with you, it won’t be a ‘hit and run’ sort of read.
All in all, I dare say this is a contemporary work of art and a must read.