Hello, everyone, and welcome to my three day event for Jess Sturman-Coombs! I'm starting today with a review of her first novel, Poker Face, and the event will continue through Thursday with a review of Puppet Master and then an interview with Mrs. Sturman-Coombs! I am very excited about this!
Hearing via Twitter that the British writer Jess Sturman-Coombs agreed to do an interview with me, I was excited. I had heard nothing but good things about her two novels, Poker Face and The Puppet Master, but I knew that, before I ventured to interview her, I must educate myself on her work, which she sent to me to read and evaluate before the interview takes place.
This is my review for her first novel, Poker Face.
Opening scenes should either attract you or confuse you in order to keep you reading...at least, that is my opinion when I open the first page of Poker Face to find her heroine, Ruby Palmer, being beaten up by her drunken father when he has come home late at night and she had done nothing but lock the doors to their house and go to sleep.
In the first few chapters you get to know Ruby--high school senior, strong and a girl who is not afraid to stand up for herself.
She is "dared" to get a job by her classmate Matthew (also, she is on his "Hit List" to sleep with her, which means she now wants absolutely nothing to do with him whatsoever), and also to avoid spending every day of the summer at home, alone, with her drunken, unemployed and abusive father. She tells Matthew a lie: she already has a job at a law firm in town.
Where did that come from and how is she going to pull off this lie once summer commences...the very next day?
The bus she takes everyday gets stuck in traffic and she sees, for the first time, the ornate building that is discreetly labeled that it is a law firm. She hops off--though it is not her regular stop--and goes inside, where she deals with a dragon of a receptionist to see Mrs. Hughes, the woman in charge of employment. Miraculously, she gets a job as an office junior...which means making endless copies, endless cups of tea and coffee and dealing with the utterly annoying (though heartbreakingly gorgeous) Danny Glover and their brooding boss, Mr. Alessi.
It is then that she is dragged into a Mafia nightmare involving corrupt police officers, hitmen, bus hijackings and drug trafficking...not to mention dead cats in delivery boxes!
All she wanted was a summer job!
This novel is a combination of The Godfather and Law And Order, but featuring a lovely and relatable main character. Ruby is a fighter and a badass in the simplest way I can put it. She isn't afraid to lie, but she is also not afraid to tell the truth and stand up for herself when the situation calls for it. She is only seventeen throughout most of the novel, but she is more mature than many adult characters I have read about in the past.
Danny and Alessi are also characters you will like, even while you are disliking them for their arrogance and general bad attitudes.
The story is not purely a thriller, a crime novel or even a combination of both. It is those things, but it is also a story of a young lady growing up and trying to better herself. It is a story full of danger, yes, but it is also full of love and hate. While reading about Ruby dodging death and trying to deal with her alcoholic father, you will also read about her journey into falling in love and trying to keep her self-respect intact.
I high recommend Poker Face for anyone who doesn't mind a bit of danger in their novel and who will want to be completely charmed by a cast of characters and feel as though they are friends (as I said, especially Ruby) as the novel makes its unforeseen twists and turns through the streets of an English town.
I enjoy a novel that keeps the reader on his/her toes and this one certainly does that. I can say that I gasped aloud more than once while reading!
Mrs. Sturman-Coombs is a brilliant writer and I cannot wait to get started on The Puppet Master, the sequel to Poker Face!
Visit Jess on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JessSturmanCoombs
Purchase "Poker Face" on Kindle from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Poker-Face-ebook/dp/B00655U9XC
Purchase "Poker Face" on Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/245732
Follow Jess on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JessSturman