by D.C. Brod
performed by Karen Savage
Published 2011 by Iambik
9 hours, 21 minutes. Unabridged.
With her nearly broke and practically homeless mother about to land on her doorstep, Robyn Guthrie learns that desperation can play havoc with a daughter's scruples. Otherwise, why would she even consider kidnapping a goat and holding it for ransom?
Apologies in advance if the following sounds a bit disjointed, but I’m trying not re-hash the plot, nor give away spoilers. Robyn, a freelance writer in her mid-40’s, has moved to the Chicago suburb where her 84 year old mother with onset dementia lives in a nursing home. A fair amount of the money set aside for her care has been lost in a crooked investment. Our heroine, and her accountant Mick (a former jockey), decide upon a plan to steal Sassy, the goat companion to a rich guy’s prize racehorse, splitting the proceeds. Meanwhile, Robyn has been assigned to do a profile of Erica, a new psychic in town. The plan was for her to sit in on a client’s séance, ask a few background questions, and crank out a piece. Instead, Robyn and Erica’s lives entwine towards the conclusion, where the heist doesn’t end up going according to plan.
I confess I had trouble accepting that mother and daughter weren’t at least a decade younger, though in the end that wasn’t a particular problem. Robyn is well drawn, being funny without a lot of over-the-top wisecracks. Her mother would be a disappointment for those expecting Sophia from the Golden Girls, or Grandma Mazur of the Stephanie Plum series; however, she holds her own, without being a mere prop. One item I thought particularly well done: a police detective who’d gone to see her mother gropes with the words to say why the woman’s statement isn’t all that useful, to which Robyn responds, “She has dementia, it’s okay to say that.” Mick quickly becomes the co-protagonist, and while he’s quite likeable, the edgy, awkward nature of their relationship struck me as a slight negative in the overall narrative. As a slight spoiler, I’ll say that it was frustrating that he goes in on the plan as he admits he needs the cash in a hurry, but we never discover exactly why. The author manages a good balance with the mystery of Erica’s character – is she (exactly) who she portrays herself as? Moreover, her storyline fits into the plot without seeming contrived.
On balance, I think this book might be better listened to than read, as Robyn’s lines are dependent upon delivery, not just content. Moreover, the narrator strikes the target tone in Erica’s scenes, creating a mysterious effect, though always dignified rather than drifty. My one quibble would be that Karen Savage reads very fast, although I was able to get past that after a while.
Verdict: I’m giving it four stars, as I was left looking forward to the sequel (“Getting Lucky”).
Author's Website: http://www.dcbrod.com/
Purchase this book: Audible