Nikki reviews Cold and Lonely, Lovely Work of Art by S. Anne Gardner


Barbara (a one-dimensional housewife going through a divorce) happens upon a horrible neighborhood where she is almost raped by two men. She is ‘saved’ by Taya (known as the Black Angel). Taya doesn’t actually save her, she just takes her back to her sparse apartment so she can feed her microwaved noodles and then have sex with her after Barbara says “no.” When asked what makes her different from the men who nearly raped her, Taya responds “you will like it when I do it.” Sweet, right?

The characterizations in this book are some of the most painful to read I’ve ever seen. Taya seems to be a sociopath who is incapable of handling her emotions and goes from tender to murderous from sentence to sentence. She keeps returning to Barbara’s house to have sex with her (after Barbara says ‘no’. It’s a theme) then gets consistently furious afterward. I’ve learned that her favorite way to deal with her complicated feelings is to scream, ride off, then kill someone. At one point, Taya came downstairs at Barbara’s house and was really very nice to Barbara’s sons, offering to let them ride on her motorcycle. The one son says he wants to get a motorcycle when he gets older, but Taya says “no you need to go to college.” Because having a motorcycle means being a murdering drug lord like Taya? No.

Then she leaves and looks for a hooker to pick up that looks like Barbara. The pimp tells the hooker to let her do whatever she wants (because he knows she’ll kill them both if she doesn’t). Then Taya takes the hooker home, cuts her clothes off, hits her, and has sex with her “until she is unconscious” after causing her a lot of unnecessary pain in the process. Taya says (I’m paraphrasing) that she needs to hurt someone else to make herself feel better. Well, that doesn’t work, so she tells the hooker to go away. The hooker tries to offer to make her feel good, but Taya throws a knife at her which gets her in the arm. Then she shoots her gun into the darkness of her apartment a lot before lying down and calling Barbara to softly whisper “goodnight.”

In addition, the dialogue is painful and the writing overall has a serious need for correct comma usage.

If that sounds like something you will totally go for, then boy do I have the right book for you!