Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Promissary Payback and Unrevealed - Two by Laurel Dewey (Book Reviews)

Title: Promissory Payback
Author: Laurel Dewey
Publisher: The Story Plant

Laurel Dewey’s Detective Jane Perry is quickly becoming one of the most distinctive, dynamic, and unforgettable characters in suspense fiction today. She’s rock hard, but capable of extraordinary tenderness. She’s a brilliant cop, but she’s capable of making life-altering mistakes. She’s uncannily talented, and she’s heartbreakingly human.

In PROMISSORY PAYBACK Jane is called in to investigate the gruesome murder of a woman who profited greatly from the misfortunes of others. The case leaves Jane with little question about motive...and with a seemingly endless number of suspects.

Title: Unrevealed
Author: Laurel Dewey
Publisher: The Story Plant

In UNREVEALED, Dewey gives us four indelible portraits of Jane Perry:

ANONYMOUS: One of Jane's first AA meetings leads her to an encounter with a woman in need of her detection skills...and a secret she never expected to uncover.

YOU CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER: Forced by her boss to speak at a high school career day, Jane meets a troubled boy and finds that his story is only the beginning of a much more revealing tale.

YOU'RE ONLY AS SICK AS YOUR SECRETS: An early-morning homicide call introduces Jane to a mystery as layered as it is unsuspected.

THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM: Jane finds herself sharing a 2:00 am conversation at a downtown bar with an old acquaintance. Will the bloody night that proceeded this moment complicate Jane's intentions?
 About the author: Laurel Dewey was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is the author of two nonfiction books on plant medicine, a Silver Spur-nominated Western novella, hundreds of articles, the Jane Perry novels, PROTECTOR, REDEMPTION, and REVELATIONS, and the Jane Perry novelette, AN UNFINISHED DEATH. She lives in Western Colorado with her husband, where she is currently working on a standalone novel.
You can find Laurel at her website and on facebook.
My thoughts: At 80 and 96 pages, I read both the novelette and the collection of stories in one sitting.  It was a great way to become immersed in the life of Jane Perry and make me hungry to read the series about her. Though Jane comes across as a tough as nails police detective, I believe that she has a softer side that allows her, through her "observations" to see more than other people. I probably saw this most in the short story - You Can't Judge a Book By It's Cover.  This is a good adage for Jane as well as the woman and boy in the story.
I have to laugh as I did a cut and paste on the above descriptions from the press package that I received, and as I just went back and read the Promissory Payback one, I realize that I wrote the same thought about Jane expressed there! 
In Promissary Payback, I like the way that Jane looked beyond the obvious and took her time putting together the clues to solve the homicide.  She noticed peoples behavior and their "tells" to figure out what they weren't saying. It was fast paced and didn't string you along before coming to a quick conclusion. 
Each of the short stories either took place in hours or days, but you still get some of Jane's backstory to help you know a little more about her. I also liked that each of the stories were very different from each other.  They weren't so much about the crimes as they were about the people who committed them and what led them to their behavior.  
On a side note - these read well as stand alones - you do not need to have read the series to enjoy them, but as a stated before, beware if it makes you hungry for more!
~I received a complimentary E-copy of these from Partners in Crime Tours and The Story Plant (through Net Galley)  in exchange for my review.~

Read on for an excerpt from Promissory Payback:
Detective Jane Perry took another hard drag on her cigarette. She knew she needed to quiet her nerves for what she was about to see.

Another victim. Another senseless, gruesome murder that she would add to the board at Denver Headquarters. When Sergeant Weyler called her half an hour ago, she hadn’t even finished her third cup of coffee. “This one is odd, Jane,” he told her with that characteristic tone in his voice that also suggested an evil tinge behind the slaying du jour. “Be prepared,” he said before hanging up. It was a helluva way to start a Monday morning.

As Jane drove her ’66 Mustang toward the crime scene in the toney section of Denver known as Cherry Creek, she tried to look on the bright side. If she’d still been a drinker, she’d be battling an epic hangover at that moment and doing her best to hide it from Weyler. But since becoming a friend of Bill W., her addictions involved healthier options such as jogging, buying way too many pounds of expensive coffee and even briefly joining a yoga group. She stopped attending the class only because the pansy-ass male instructor wasn’t comfortable with her setting her Glock in the holster to the side of her mat during class. Since she was usually headed to work after the 7 AM stretch session, Jane was obviously carrying her service weapon. She wasn’t about to leave it in her car or a locker at the facility. Nor would she be so careless as to hang it on one of the eco-friendly bamboo hooks that lined the yoga room.

So for Jane, it was obvious and more than natural for the Glock to lie next to her as she attempted the Salutation to the Sun pose and arched into Downward Facing Dog. In her mind, there was no dichotomy between the peacefulness of yoga and the brain splattering capacity of her Glock. As the annoying, high-pitched flute music played in the background—a sound meant to encourage calmness but which sounded more like a dying parakeet to Jane—she felt completely safe knowing that a loaded gun was inches from her grasp. The other people in the class, however, did have a problem and they showed it by arranging their mats as far from Jane as humanly possible. None of this behavior bothered Jane until the soy milk-chugging teacher took her aside and asked her to please remove the Glock from class. Since Jane wasn’t about to take orders from a guy in a fuchsia leotard who had a penchant for crying at least twice during class, she strapped her 9mm across her organic cotton yoga t! op and quit.

That’s what predictably happened whenever you shoved a square peg like Jane Perry in a round hole of people and situations that don’t understand the real world. Crime has a nasty habit of worming its way into the most unlikely places—churches, schools, sacred retreats and possibly yoga studios. The way Jane Perry looked at life, yoga might keep your flexible but a loaded gun kept you alive so you could continue being flexible. She knew what it felt like to be the victim of circumstance; to be held hostage by another person’s violent objective. Even though it was a long time ago, she’d never wash the stench from her memory. Her vow was always the same: Nobody would ever make Jane Perry a victim again.

But somebody apparently had made the old lady inside the Cherry Creek house a victim. Jane rolled to the curb and parked the Mustang, sucking the last microgram of nicotine from the butt of her cigarette. Squashing it onto the street with the heel of her roughout cowboy boots, she flashed her shield to the cops standing at the periphery and ducked under the yellow crime tape that was draped between the two precision-trimmed boxwood shrubs that framed the bottom of the long, immaculate brick driveway.
Publisher/Publication Date: The Story Plant, Aug 2011
ISBN: 978-1611880076
80 pages
Publisher/Publication Date: The Story Plant, Oct 2011
ISBN: 978-1611880236
96 pages

1 comment:

CMash said...

Excellent review and post!!!!


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