Georgia Peach (Jane Doe Six Sentence Stories)

“O-ho!” booms the voice, the hand pumping Torry’s hand, “so this is Allan’s juicy Georgia peach I’m finally getting to meet!”

Torry worms her hand away, bristling.

“I’m not his anymore,” she snaps, “we’ve been divorced for a year now. And I was never any Georgia peach either. I was merely in college there when we met.”

“Well, I sincerely apologize if I gave any offense,” her fellow convention goer concedes, “and you’re right, you surely ain’t no peach.”

StockSnap Pixabay

Each week, Ivy at Uncharted hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction blog hop. This week’s six is a vignette from The Life and Times of Jane Doe; the cue was “peach.” Fun sixes from other authors are here. Join us!

Trouble in Paradise by Robert B. Parker (Book Review)

Trouble In Paradise (Jesse Stone, #2)Trouble In Paradise by Robert B. Parker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am troubled.

People, and noticeably women, in this book are constantly talking about fucking. “Are you fucking him?” “No, I was fucking him last week. Now I’m fucking someone else.” “OK, cuz I’m fucking him now.” I don’t object to fucking–fucking is fun. It’s not the word fuck, either–fuck knows I can use fuck as a noun, verb, adverb, adjective, interrogative, interjection, preposition, and intensifier, virtually every grammatical form of fuck at the drop of a fucking hat. But in all my years as a woman, with girlfriends and our discussions of crushes and current lovers and exes, we did not throw the word fuck around like the women in this book do, not when we were talking about actual, you know, fucking. We said things like “Have you slept with him yet?” and “Oh my God he’s so good in bed” and “Worst lay I’ve ever had” and “I know I’m done with him, but seriously, hands off. Gauche.”

Did Parker think women really talk like the women in this book? Were my girlfriends and I the only women in America who don’t? Or is it just women in Paradise, Massachusetts who talk like that? It’s kind of funny, I guess, that I freely use the word fuck for anything except actual fornication. Making love is awesome. Hot lust is hot. Maybe this is some prudery on my part that I’m not acknowledging well. But all the fucking in this book just sounds mechanical, like it’s part of their fitness regime or something.

And then there’s all the actual fucking as part of the story. He’s fucking her, but now he’s fucking this one over here, who is also fucking that guy over there, who is fucking the same woman the first guy was fucking. If they’re not actually fucking, they’re thinking about fucking or talking about fucking or engaging in stalker-ish behavior about who each other is fucking. It makes me wonder about the STD statistics of this little town; a more apt title might be “Chlamydia in Paradise.” The actual crime story had potential, but for me it came off like an Ocean’s Eleven that got derailed by a lot of fucking.

Jesse and this whole Jenn thing have me a bit flummoxed as well. I get love, and being willing to look like an idiot for it, but the level to which this “man’s man” lets this bimbo fuck anyone she pleases while being at her beck and call and constantly pining away for her, is irritating me. Jenn is simply not written well enough for me to get why she inspires all this angst and humiliation. Perhaps that’s the point, that we usually cannot understand what one person sees in any other. But all I can think is, man up, dude.

And that thing at the end. No spoilers. But it would have been a lot more realistic if he’d just fucked her. I don’t care if he’s the chief of police or not.

If an RBP had to disappoint me, I’m glad it was a Jesse Stone novel and not a Spenser. I’ll read the next one, but I’m not sure how much more of Jenn I can take.

Bookshelves: detective, mystery, manly-men-kicking-ass

Join me on Goodreads here: View all my reviews

Livin’ the Dream (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

Becca pushes out of the consignment shop, not daring to breathe lest it tip the tears poised to fall. A year ago she had bliss. Now she’s selling what left she has of Richard.

That happy life, that wonderful man, it must have been a dream. She would never have been so careless as to lose him if it was real. She would have felt its fragility, would have known not to let him leave the house that day.

But why would anyone wake from a dream like that one, if dream it was?

Same result. Gone, either way.

comfreak Pixabay dream

Every week at the Ranch, Charli Mills hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge. This week’s prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that involves a dream. This week’s flash is another vignette from The Life and Times of Jane Doe. Fun flashes from other writers are at the link. Join us!

Well 2 (Jane Doe Six Sentence Stories)

“I’d like to go over a wellness plan with you, get you a consult with our dietitian, a chiropractic check, exercise regime, maybe some regular massage, and a referral for psychotherapy. ”

Becca frowns. “I have crappy insurance that I guarantee isn’t going to cover any of that.”

“Well, it’s difficult for me to help you get well and stay well if you’re not going to take your health seriously.”

“I’m a lot more likely to stay well if I can afford to eat instead of giving all my money to the health care industry,” Becca snaps. “I came in for something to help with the panic attacks so I can function like a semi-normal human being, but here I am fending off a used car salesman.”

ulleo pixabay

Each week, Ivy at Uncharted hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction blog hop. This vignette is from The Life and Times of Jane Doe and is in response to this week’s cue, “well.” Fun Sixes from other writers are here. Join us!

This Six touches on some of my rants toward what I think should be called the health don’t-care industry. Don’t get me wrong; I do think that most people who pursue careers in health care genuinely want to help people, but they are hogtied by a billion-dollar machine with more focus on profit than actually caring about people. More on that later. Maybe. If I can make it cohesive.


The Likeness by Tana French (Book Review)

The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad, #2)The Likeness by Tana French

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m going to talk my way through deciding where this book leaves me, how many stars to hand out.

The premise is excellent, with smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand. Twist one: A young woman who has assumed the false identity created by a former undercover cop is murdered. Twist two: The two women are doppelgängers. So, police pretend the victim survived and recovers, the cop resumes the identity and goes back undercover to solve the case. What’s not to love?

One thing for me not to love was the pacing. It starts out with a bang, then moves at a glacial pace as Detective Cassie Maddox resumes her former undercover identity to return “home” to a houseful of Ph.D.-candidate roommates, one of whom may have tried to kill “her.” The setup is necessary, I suppose, but it drags, with an awful lot of wordy atmospheric stage-setting. It’s lovely writing, but so much of it feels like it’s padding.

The other thing not to love was the entire group of housemates. Five doctoral-level grad students who are always together, evidently with identical course schedules, always going to and from college together, always sitting down for meals together, doing each other’s laundry and spending evenings in the same room together, draping their legs over each other’s laps and finishing each other’s sentences and eating from each other’s plates. Maybe it makes me a terrible friend, but keep your fingers out of my food and your feet out of my face, mmmkay? But more than that, beyond close friendship or snooty insularity or even blurred boundaries, there is an undertone of perverse not-quite-sexuality to it that made me feel I was in danger of being sucked into a cult. Was it supposed to be that way? This group of people gave me some serious creeps, better than a chain-rattling ghost or a maniac with a machete ever could. If that was intentional then more kudos to French and to our fictional detective as well, for being able to sleep under the same roof with them. If I met that bunch in real life, I’d bolt.

At first blush it seems a little fantastic that four people who had intimately known the dead woman could be completely fooled by an undercover who hadn’t known her at all, but on the other hand, we are quite good at convincing ourselves we are seeing what we expect to see. So I was fine with that aspect of it, and it wasn’t until I hit 75% that I really had to suspend my disbelief to absorb the crisis point, the hook for the ending. I let myself be hooked because the pace was finally picking up; it had taken me a week to read the first three-quarters, but I read the last quarter in an afternoon. This is not a tied-up-with-a-pretty-bow ending; there is a vagueness to it that I appreciate. Life is not tidy. After everything’s over, there’s always something left to wonder about.

Note that some other reviewers didn’t mind the pacing and/or hated the ending, so your mileage may vary. The plotting is stellar. I enjoy the psych-thriller aspect as much as I enjoy the mystery/police procedural. French skillfully writes an almost mystic connection between the undercover and the dead woman, with a feeling that they had somehow summoned each other. Her prose is lovely, and she rocks at distilling impressions into words. I liked In the Woods better, but I remain a fan; I’ve already reserved Faithful Place at my library. All three books are from the POV’s of three different yet connected characters; I’m looking forward to Frank Mackey’s POV.

This would be a four-star read but for the pacing, so the verdict is three stars, which is just fine.

Bookshelves: crime, whodunit, detective, mystery, ireland, psych-thriller, police-procedural, heebie-jeebies

Join me on Goodreads: View all my reviews

Let’s Play a Game (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

Jane smooths lotion over her knee, pausing over the scar. Ten, she’d been, suited up in roller skates with the key around her neck. Her friend Carla on her bike, eyes full of the devil. “Hold on to the sissy bar and I’ll pull you. It’ll be fun. Just like waterskiing.”

And it was. Hair flying, eyes streaming in the wind, both of them shrieking laughter, blazing down the middle of the street until Carla wiped out and Jane went flying and blood flowed. No helmets or kneepads back then.

Kids can’t come close to fun like that now.


Every week at the Ranch, Charli Mills hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge. This week’s prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that involves playing an outdoor game. Follow the link for great flashes from other writers. Even better, join us!

Need a Lift (Jane Doe Six Sentence Stories)

“Can you please help me? Can’t find a lift.”

Becca is hauled up short, this complete stranger, obviously foreign at that, wanting her to cheer him up, or is he asking her to drive him somewhere?

“I can help you download the Uber app,” she finally manages to get out.

“Over here,” says another woman kindly, pointing toward the alcove with the elevators. Becca mentally slaps herself.

Elevator hans pixabay

Every week Ivy at Uncharted hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction blog hop. This week’s cue was “lift.” This Six is a vignette from The Life and Times of Jane Doe. Fun Sixes from other writers are at the link. Join us, hop around!