What happens when a parakeet named Ruby gets an unexpected mind-meld with Marcella Hollister's quarrelsome mother, Thelma? After Thelma is kidnapped from her hospital bed, Marcella must find her - somewhere in the tall pines of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park. With the help of her Native American husband Quinn and bizarre "tips" from Ruby, Marcella butts heads with quirky bird psychic Earl Tiramisu, much to the chagrin of the FBI, who want her to stay out of the investigation.
Why is Tiramisu asking questions about Thelma's past and the money she's been spending? The FBI agents hint that it may be related to an unsolved fifty-year-old bank heist, but Marcella can't believe her annoying, but honest-to-a-fault mother, could be involved.
Across the rugged Adirondack park landscape, a brutal scenario evolves, where the good guys aren't what they seem, and only Ruby's newly acquired talents provide slim hope for survival.
©2011 Aaron Paul Lazar (P)2013 Aaron Paul Lazar
I'm a fan of Aaron Paul Lazar's Gus Legarde series. This is the first of his other books I've read. Right from the opening pages, I really appreciated the quality of his writing--narration and dialogue were spot on. Lazar gives this story the rich setting details he's famous for (well, if he isn't yet, he should be!) plus an even more engaging lead than Gus Legarde (and that's saying a lot). Marcella Hollister and her supporting cast of zanies offer loads of raw material for the series.
As for plot, Lazar delivers a kooky sequence of events with a well-developed showdown with the villains. Then the story slowed down. I was thinking with furrowed brow, Hmmm... this is a bit of an anticlimactic tail-off ... Then Lazar sucker-punched me with a twist you'd have to be really psychic to see coming, and then a final zinger to wrap things up.
This is a fun light read (listen, in my case), but it contains occasional glimpses of very poignant subtext--another signature feature of Lazar's novels that make him one of my favorite up-and-coming authors.
This is also the first time I've heard Hannah Seusy's narration. To be honest, my first reaction was that her diction lacked clarity. But within a few minutes I got into the swing of her voice and ended up being completely won over by her outstandingly natural characterization of not only Marcella but also the other characters.
Two thumbs up, all around.
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