Thursday, May 7, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: "An Arm And A Leg" by Olive Balla

He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and polished the clear, vacuum-sealed glass dome, pleased to note hardly any deterioration in the mummified flesh beneath.
“Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.” He smiled and nodded, as if the thing under the dome was whispering the secrets of the universe to him…
In near-worshipful silence, Bellamy walked among the bits and pieces the rest of the world would view as monstrosities. No matter where he was or in what activity he was engaged, his Pretties were never far from his mind. But this was more than a collection—it was an extension of him. Not because of any malformation of his own person, but because of the rarity of his carefully selected pieces.
An image of Frankie O’Neil sprang into his mind. She of the tiny hands and feet. She of the striking eyes. Rare eyes, glowing at him from the picture frame in which O’Neil had kept her photo.
How best to preserve those eyes—one sky-blue, the other amber-yellow? Formaldehyde? No, that didn’t prevent decay, it only slowed it. And alcohol would alter the cell structure such that bits of flesh would loosen and peel away, destroying the face’s loveliness. No, no…that would be unacceptable.
Cryonics was the answer—a complex procedure ending in the head’s being submerged in liquid nitrogen and maintained at absolute zero… He’d be the proud owner of the only known example of that rare condition called heterochromia iridium. It would be the crowning glory of his collection.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The phrase "an arm and a leg" is usually metaphorical. In this book, it's quite literal, when a woman who hears dead people is wanted for cannibalistic murders that she didn't commit.
Reminiscent of Thomas Harris books (he invented famed cannibal/serial killer Hannibal Lecter), but told from a victim's standpoint, Ms. Balla's debut novel does not seem like a debut whatsoever. This story flows smoothly, weaving a spell around you as you go deeper into Frankie's life and her fears.
But there is a bit of women's fiction sewn into the fabric of this murderous story, when Frankie starts falling in love with the deputy who thinks she's the female Bundy. It's quite the unconventional love story, and seems one-sided for a certain amount of time. I actually think that that is the book's only flaw: it didn't need this emotional deliemma when it was already chock full of everything else. That's probably just a personal preference, as I'm sure most readers will love it.
But the mystery will keep you hooked whether you like the romance drama or not. It's the depravity, the suspense and the edge of danger that is sharp enough to cut that makes this book so excellent.

4/5--a must-read for any mystery/murder fan!

Purchase An Arm And A Leg via:

Google Books
Wild Rose Publishing

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