“When dead prostitutes begin to appear along the rural roads of Ohio, Allie Lindell cannot stay away despite the odds. As she navigates the backstreets of Columbus, following pimps, prostitutes, sullen teenagers, and seedy gamblers, the only thing more complicated is remembering all her aliases. . . “
begins the very detailed blurb from Amazon. In fact, much of the plot, setting, and many of the characters are revealed before you click or crack open the book. Published in August of 2013, this first of the series is followed by Sweetbreath – released in December of the same year.
There is substantial textual real estate to this novel. Not only is it a decent length, but the author has the main character simultaneously investigating two mysteries, initiating and deepening friendships, juggling parenthood, and attempting to maintain her marriage. Whew! Blend this with a first person perspective and add a police dog to the mix and you might need resting periods while reading this novel.
We accompany Allie Lindell in a myriad of choices, conversations, and challenges. An obituary writer and stay-at-home mom, Allie is experiencing the very familiar isolating aspects associated with this lifestyle. Add her wife Rae Ann, an engineer working nights, to the mix, sprinkle in their two little girls, Krissy and Kelli, and you have a very believable, busy household. Under internal and external strain, Allie and Rae Ann are now living lives that initiate from the same geography, but seldom intersect in a satisfying manner.
The blurb continues:
“Roadkill is the first in a series in which a former journalist and at-home mom discovers she has a knack for investigating murders. While she longs for the crazy deadlines and adult conversations, she also wants to stay home and care for her babies.”
I would not describe Allie’s methods as “a knack” – in fact I found the manner in which she shares information and gathers data to be one of the least feasible aspects to this story. The speed with which her interviewees reveal information and offer crucial clues pings my meter too frequently to add credibility to the plot. Allie’s inner dialogue is explored in significant detail, as she deals with the demands of motherhood and the pull of professional curiosity. This, together with her little girls’ cute interactions, was quite believable and relatable, rescuing the story from reader disbelief.
”. . .this is the funny, sometimes aggravating, ultimately heartwarming story of a woman trying to give everything to her kids, keep the love of her partner, and not lose herself in the process.”
I think the author attempts too much in this story. What suffers is believability – I was confused by the significant distance between Allie and her wife, who then engage in light sexting with each other. The children and pets are the strongest characters in this story – both entertaining and engaging while very credible. Their demands, behaviors, and mischief add levity to a mystery and give relief to the weight of the adults’ lives. I do appreciate the love and frustration Allie feels for her wife, the discordant pull of her interests, and the wonder of a new friendship. I was intrigued by the correlation that is drawn between the challenges of MS and the gay life.
I read this book as an advanced reader’s copy uncorrected proof. This review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.